Nokia still bosses handsets - but market share falls five per cent | Mobile Devices | Mobile Entertainment

Nokia still bosses handsets - but market share falls five per cent

Nokia still bosses handsets - but market share falls five per cent
Tim Green

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Devices / Nokia / February 2nd 2012 at 10:53AM

Finnish firm shipped 417m units in 2011, against 453m in 2010.

New stats on the worldwide mobile phone market from IDC show that Nokia remains the overwhelming front runner in terms of pure handset sales.

But gone are the days of a 40 per cent plus market share.

Today, Samsung is catching up fast, while Apple continues to obliterate the competition in the high end smartphone space.

Nokia's 417m units gave it a 27 per cent share, while Samsung's 329.4m units delivered 21.3 per cent.

Samsung finished the quarter and the year reaching new record levels, breaking the 90 million unit mark for the first time in a single quarter and breaking the 300 million mark for the first time in a single year.

Meanwhile, Apple sold 93.2m devices for a six per cent overall market share. That pretty much doubled its 2010 performance, when it sold 47.5m units for a 3.4 per cent share.

In fourth place, LG's total volumes declined for the third consecutive quarter, sinking to levels not seen since the second quarter of 2007.

In a lamentable year, LG posted the largest full year-over-year decline among the leading vendors.

As a result, Chinese vendor ZTE nearly tied with LG for fourth place, with fewer than a million units separating the two vendors.

It's all a big change from the mid noughties when the big five of Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, LG and Sony Ericsson seemed immovable.

Overall, handset vendors shipped 427.4 million units in 4Q11 compared to 402.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2010. The 6.1per cent year-over-year growth was higher than IDC's forecast of 4.4 per cent for the quarter, but weaker than the 9.3 per cent growth in 3Q11.

"The mobile phone market exhibited unusually low growth last quarter, which shows it is not immune to weaker macroeconomic conditions worldwide," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker.

"The introduction of high-growth products such as the iPhone 4S, which shipped in the fourth quarter, bolstered smartphone growth. Yet overall market growth fell to its lowest point since 3Q09 when the global economic recession was in full bloom."

And while smartphones continue to boom everywhere, the fact is that feature phones still comprise the majority of all shipments.

"Feature phones accounted for a majority of shipments from four of the five market leaders during the quarter," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team.

"Even though their proportion is eroding, feature phones maintain their appeal on the basis of price and ease of use."