Global smartphone sales growth slows down in Q3: Samsung's first quarter on top, Apple's rare sequential iPhone loss

Global smartphone sales growth slows down in Q3: Samsung's first quarter on top, Apple's rare sequential iPhone loss
The third quarter of the year is long over and this means that it's time for a look back at the stats. Phone sales continued to grow globally with big demand from emerging markets, while smartphone growth slowed down, especially in Western markets, where anticipation of the next iPhone was felt.

Still global sales of phones amounted to 440.5 million units in the third trimester of the year, up 5.6% year-on-year. Somewhat surprisingly, this quarter feature phone sales surged, driven by more affordable models and dual-SIM devices. 

Nokia retained its leading position despite losing market share. The company took 23.9% of the global sales pie, with signs of improvement in the third quarter after a stressful decline in the second trimester. Nokia has introduced a number of affordable dual-SIM devices that have enjoyed popularity in developing markets. Regions such as Pacific Asia, the Middle East and Africa registered booming demand for feature phones as well.

When it comes to smartphones, though, Samsung enjoyed its first quarter at the top of the list. Samsung's Galaxy family and specific models like the Galaxy S II in its different flavors, were a big part of that success. Apple registered a rare sequential loss in shipped smartphones in Q3, as it was finally hit by iPhone 4S anticipation, but expectations are for the company to quickly recover after the launch of the new device.

"Some consumers held off upgrading in the third quarter because they were waiting for promotions on other new high-end models that were launched in the run-up to the fourth quarter holiday season," Roberta Cozza of Gartner said. "Other consumers were waiting for a rumored new iPhone and associated price cuts on older iPhone models; this affected U.S. sales particularly."

Generally, the smartphone market grew on a quick increase in sales in China and Russia that made up for tepid sales in Western markets.

On the platform end of the spectrum, Android continued enjoying an almost undisturbed reign at the top. With a market share of 52.5%, the platform is the clear smartphone leader, followed by Symbian and iOS ranking a distant second and third. 

"Android benefited from more mass-market offerings, a weaker competitive environment and the lack of exciting new products on alternative operating systems such as Windows Phone 7 and RIM," Cozza added.

Interestingly, Samsung's bada OS continues to sell better than Microsoft's Windows Phone, which remains a marginal sixth. Microsoft placed its chip on the Mango push, which is expected to show in the last quarter of the year, so that's something we'll be closely following next quarter.

Do you find any surprises in the report and what will the future bring in your opinion? Don't hesitate to drop your two cents in the comments below.

source: Gartner

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99 Comments

4. ayephoner

Posts: 858; Member since: Jun 09, 2009

there are no excuses. there are reasons. the smartphone market is not constant like some other markets. things happen in waves based upon device release. as the article states, samsung had the top of the line device for the quarter, while apple was selling a year or more old device. in q4, apple will be selling their brand new device vs. a somewhat dated sgsII (and some boost from the nexus), but apple will surely resurge in q4. samsung will then chip away as it will launch new phones every quarter, while apple wont see another new phone until mid to late \'12.

7. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

samsung wasnt selling their top of the line phone in their biggest market in Q3, which was the SGS2 in America. they lost a lot of sales because of that. I expect Apple to temporarily take the crown back in Q4, but not by a big margin as both the i4s and the SGS2 are on sale everywhere.

8. arcq12

Posts: 733; Member since: Oct 13, 2011

I believe i4s will outsell the SGS2 Q4 this year by a huge margin. Then will go back to business as usual by early next year.

67. cnwwyo

Posts: 126; Member since: May 26, 2011

these commi bastards sure censored this awfull quick! and for what, speaking the truth? liberal cocksuckers

2. rendHELL

Posts: 304; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

Damn Right! Go SAMMY!!!!

3. c.hack

Posts: 614; Member since: Dec 09, 2009

That's right. Go Asian companies. gogogo. To hell with the USA. Oh, wait. Oops, my job is in the USA. FTW

5. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

hack, samsung employs more americans than apple does. where the head quarters is, and where the jobs are are not always the same thing. Apple is also notorious for hiding its money overseas to avoid paying taxes. Thats one of the reason SJ got a special meeting with Obama.. to make suggestions on how to lower taxes so businesses bring their money back (to the tune of trillions and trillions). So in that light, samsung is more american than apple.

35. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

You just made all that up remix. Just like you were completely wrong about microsoft's shares in Apple. Where do you get this Samsung employees more Americans then Apple? Apple employees probably close to 30,000 Americans. I posted an article where just their retail employees are close to 20,000. They're building a 12,000 employee campus in Cupertino in addition to their existing campus. Do you know Google has billions hidden overseas to avoid taxes? That's ok with you though cause its google right?

45. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

Taco, where did you read that Apple employs close to 30,000 Americans? They have roughly 48,000 employees entirely as of 2010 so I would be very interested to see how you found out how many of those are American.

52. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

samsung has its chip plants in texas if i remember correctly. plus all its retail people, its tech people, its sales people, on and on and on. we had this fight already taco and because it can hold 12,000 people, doesn't mean there is 12,000 people in it.

75. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

The ownage continues http://9to5mac.com/2010/10/28/apple-employee-numbers-up-by-a-third/ "The company has raised its employee numbers by over a third from last year, it had 46,600 full-time employees as of September 25, up from 34,300 a year ago and 28,000 in 2008. Most of that increase came in the retail segment, where Apple now has 26,500 employees, 10,000 more than in 2009. Apple has 317 retail stores, up from 273 a year ago." I'm going to help you out here. The majority of Apple's retail stores are in the US. Also Foxconn factory workers are not Apple employees. They work for Foxconn and not for Apple. Out of these 46,000 employees the vast majority work in the US. Retail staff, engineers, corporate employees. Not to mention staff like janitor, cafeteria workers etc. Do you ever get tired of being wrong? You have this outdated talk track you repeat over and over without any care for what the actual facts are.

76. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

who exactly did you prove wrong? iamcc said they had about 48000 employees, and i just made mention of the difference between capability of an office and actual staff. i realize you have mental problems, but u shouldnt argue with yourself.. lol.

81. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

"and because it can hold 12,000 people, doesn't mean there is 12,000 people in it." "samsung employs more americans than apple does. where the head quarters is, and where the jobs are are not always the same thing." You first comments insinuates Apple doesn't have 12,000 employees. Then your second comment states as a "fact" that Samsung employees more Americans. Can you please provide us the number of Samsung workers in the US?

88. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

you really are mental taco. i was just talking about their headquarters you troll. Capacity is not the same as employed. That was the point. A 50,000 seat stadium doesnt have its seats filled at all times. Oi. I didnt make any insinuation as to 12000 people for their total employ numbers. What planet do you live on again? Can taco go back on vacation please? It was so peaceful without him.

92. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Remix you stated as fact that Samsung employees more people in the US. Where are you getting this info?

82. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

They're now at 63,000 Brought to light by a recent filing by Apple with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Cupertino, California-based outfit now employees just north of 63,000 full-time employees. One year ago, that number was just under 50,000. In other words, Apple's work force has popped by 28% in less than one year. http://modmyi.com/content/5702-number-full-time-apple-employees-now-tops-63-000.html

68. cnwwyo

Posts: 126; Member since: May 26, 2011

google earned their money fair and square. it's people like u with your hand out that is the problem. work for what u want, or move to europe

73. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

what??

23. rendHELL

Posts: 304; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

working for what company?

61. cncrim

Posts: 1586; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Look on the back phone do you see anything is make in USA anymore beside awsome mind of design software and the case.

6. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

personally, i love the "they were waiting for the iphone5" arguement. Because it holds no water. Americans were also waiting for the SGS2, which is samsung's biggest market for high end phones. They weren't selling their hugely successful flagship phone in America in Q3. And they still won. Android is over 50% by itself, thats a milestone to be proud of. iOS is 3rd behind symbian? woops. yea.. cuz u know, adobe sure does care about the guy in 3rd's opinion more than the guy in a distant 1st's opinion.

15. ayephoner

Posts: 858; Member since: Jun 09, 2009

first, sprint was selling the sgsII for half a month in Q3. i know, not long, but phones sell the most at launch, so there are some numbers there. second, they were selling it in many, many markets world wide. third, its not as if samsung only launches one smartphone per year (or even one flagship smartphone per year). they have launch after launch after launch. fourth, samsung\'s frequent launch schedule makes the pre-flagship sales decrease much less significant than apple\'s. i do agree with you that samsung is gaining market share from apple, but it is happening much more slowly than the picture you are painting.

16. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

Samsung only had 1 flagship device in 2011 which was the gs2,they just had different varients for regions and carriers.

59. htcisthebest

Posts: 435; Member since: Nov 15, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Note is also Samsung's flagship device in 2011, though it's not in the US yet.

89. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

its not a flagship, its a niche. the SGS2 is the flagship until the SGS3 or something better launches. Thought the note is pretty darn nifty.

17. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

first.. it was like a week for the SGS2 on sprint. im sure that skewed numbers quite a bit... or not.. lol second, they sell as much in america as they do in the rest of the world combined for high end smartphones.. so thats literally half their sales market. third, they may launch more than 1 phone ,but the bulk of their smartphone sales are based off SGS1 and SGS2 by far more than any other device. That is different how from the i4/3gs sales?? oh.. yea, the SGS1 and SGS2 are MORE EXPENSIVE than the i4/3gs at the same time. fourth... huh? it was a huge sales decrease. instead of waiting for what the phone "could have been" like the i5, they were waiting for the monster they knew existed. The SGS2 is an anomole, ive said that before. Never before have I witnessed soooo many customers holding off until the thing came out. For 6 months or so from the Korean launch to the American launch. That has never happened in the Android world since there is so many choices. Thats normally an iphone thing. glad you agree, but im not sure i painted a picture of quick growth. its growth, but right now its a back n forth duel since they are pretty neck n neck. My point was people claim apple slid to second because people were waiting for the i5 announcement.. well there was millions of people waiting for the SGS2 in america that couldnt get one until Q4. I think apple will win the 4th quarter, but not by much since the SGS2 is finally on sale in the US to help bolster samsung's #s. If they had launched the G-Nexus sooner rather than later, that would have made the quarter even closer, though it only helps my Q1 2012 bet with taco by them waiting. And it will probably be the last time Apple wins a quarter until the i5 launch.

24. rendHELL

Posts: 304; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

i wonder why the tacos has not been posting yet in this thread? could they be silent cause they cant think of something to say to android fans? XD

29. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

wrong again... The us were waiting for the Nexus Prime.. remember?... the SGSII took to long and people moved on.... and Q4 will be Apple...

33. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

gallito, i work in the industry. the SGS2 sells like wildfire. people have been waiting for that phone for a long time.

40. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Maybe on T Mobile because customers don't have the iPhone option. iPhone is the top selling phone on all other carriers. It's really obvious your hatred for Apple. You worked for VZW where you were trained to be anti Apple and now you work for T Mo where it's the same thing. Quit being a follower and think for yourself.

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