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Cellphone, Smartphone Growth Slips In Q3


Worldwide unit shipments
of cellphones and smartphones
broke records in the third quarter, but
their growth rates slipped from the yearago

The reason for the growth slippage
was in part because consumers and carriers
waited for Apple’s next-generation
iPhone and for BlackBerry handsets
based on Research In Motion’s (RIM)
new OS 7, multiple research and consulting
companies said.

Analysts from Strategy Analytics,
ABI Research and IDC also cited conservative
consumer spending during a
period of economic volatility and falling
Nokia smartphone sales as the company
transitions from the Symbian to
Microsoft OSs.

Also during the quarter, Samsung took
top spot in worldwide smartphone unit
share, rocketing to 23.8 percent share
from a year-ago 9.3 percent as Apple
and Nokia shares fell, Strategy Analytics
found. (See the Global Smartphone
Shipments table.)

In addition, Apple’s global smartphone
growth rate slowed to 21 percent annually
in the quarter to its lowest level for
two years, Strategy Analytics found.

Chinese maker ZTE passed Apple
to take the fourth-place spot in global
share of all handsets, with Apple slipping
to fifth place despite Apple posting the
third-highest growth rate of any top-five
vendor, ABI Research said. (See the
Global Handset Shipments table.)

And overall handset shipments declined
in the United States and Western
Europe in the third quarter on a yearover-
year basis, said IDC, which didn’t
disclose U.S. smartphone shipments.

Worldwide, although overall handsetshipment
growth slowed slightly in the
third quarter, it wasn’t by much, said
Strategy Analytics director Neil Mawston.
In smartphones, after eliminating the effects
of Nokia’s turmoil and people postponing
a smartphone purchase to wait
for the new iPhone, smartphone growth
wouldn’t have slowed at all, he added.

“Global handset shipment growth in
the third quarter was a little slower than
in the first half of the year but nothing to
set alarm bells ringing,” Mawston told
TWICE. First-quarter shipments of all
handsets were up 19 percent year over
year, and the second quarter was up 12
percent for a first-half gain of 16 percent,
he said, while the third-quarter gain was
14.2 percent to 390 million units. (See
Global Mobile Phone Vendors table.)

The 14.2 percent rate was down slight-ly from the year-ago gain of 15.2 percent.

The growth rate in smartphone shipments,
on the other hand, “dropped
sharply,” Mawston said. Smartphone
shipments in the first quarter were up 86
percent and up 75 percent in the second
quarter for a first-half gain of 80 percent
year over year while third-quarter shipments
were up 44.4 percent to 117 million.
The third-quarter growth rate was
down significantly from the year-ago
growth rate of 86.5 percent. Though
growth slowed, the quarter’s shipments
nonetheless hit a record high, Strategy
Analytics said.

Here’s how Strategy Analytics, IDC,
and ABI analyzed the quarter’s growth
and vendor shares:

Strategy Analytics:

“Despite ongoing
economic volatility, global handset
shipments grew a relatively healthy 14
percent annually to reach 390 million
units in Q3 2011,” said senior analyst
Alex Spektor. “ZTE was the star performer
as it captured 5 percent market
share and overtook Apple to become the
world’s fourth largest handset vendor.
ZTE’s growth is being driven by competitive
pricing of entry-level models for feature
phones and Android smartphones.”

 In smartphones, Samsung shipped 28
million smartphones and overtook Apple
to become the world’s largest smartphone
vendor with 24 percent market share,
Strategy Analytics said. “Samsung’s rise
has been driven by a blend of elegant
hardware designs, popular Android services,
memorable sub-brands and extensive
global distribution,” said Spektor.


Third-quarter smartphone shipments
grew 33 percent year over year to
109.7 million, accounting for 28.8 percent
of total handsets shipments of 381
million. “Lackluster smartphone shipments
from Apple, RIM and Nokia have
temporarily halted the hyper growth of
the smartphone market in Q3,” said senior
analyst Mike Morgan.


The worldwide mobile phone
market grew 12.8 percent to 393.7 million
in the quarter as smartphone growth
declined in key mature markets, the
company said. It was the second-lowest
growth rate for the overall mobile phone
market over the past two years, reflecting
delayed smartphone purchases and
conservative consumer spending last
quarter, IDC explained.
Nonetheless, the 12.8 percent gain exceed
IDC’s forecast of 9.3 percent and
was stronger than the second quarter’s
9.8 percent gain, IDC said.