Boston – Apple regained its status as the
world’s largest smartphone vendor by unit shipments in the fourth quarter,
selling 37 million units worldwide in a smartphone market whose fourth-quarter
shipments grew 53.9 percent to a record 155 million units, Strategy Analytics
reclaimed the top title, though just barely, from Samsung because of a 128 percent surge in fourth-quarter Apple shipments
compared with the year-ago quarter, the research and consulting company said. Apple benefited from expanded iPhone-family
distribution across numerous countries and dozens of operators and an expanded
selection of price points, the company said.
Apple’s fourth-quarter share hit 23.9 percent
compared with Samsung’s 23.5 percent. (see table)
For the full year, however, Samsung was the market leader for the first time, with
19.9 percent global share compared with Apple’s 19 percent, Strategy Analytics
said. “With global smartphone shipments
nearing half a billion units in 2011, Samsung is now well positioned alongside
Apple in a two-horse race at the forefront of one of the world’s largest and
most valuable consumer electronics markets,” claimed Neil Mawston, Strategy
Analytics executive director.
Overall smartphone shipments soared 53.9
percent to 155 million in the quarter and by 63 percent to 488.5 million for
the year, though the growth rates were down from the respective year-ago
periods’ 86.8 percent and 71.4 percent.
Overall cellphone shipments, (see table at bottom) including smartphones, also rose in the quarter and
year, and Nokia maintained its global dominance in market share in both
periods, through its lead slipped in both periods as Samsung solidified its
Overall cellphone shipments rose 11.2 percent
in the quarter to 445 million and 14.1 percent for the year to 1,551.4 million.
The growth rates were down slightly from the respective year-ago periods’ 16.2
percent and 16.3 percent.