Palo Alto, Calif. - HTC was tops in U.S. smartphone shipment share for the first time in the third quarter as Research In Motion (RIM) and Apple lost share sequentially over the past few quarters, research and consulting company Canalys found.
Among the top five smartphone vendors by unit shipments, HTC boosted its share to 22.9 percent in the third quarter, followed by Samsung at 22 percent, Apple at 20.1 percent, RIM at 11.4 percent, and Motorola at 7.9 percent. LG did not make the top five in U.S. shipment share, according to Canalys quarter-by-quarter shipment numbers supplied to TWICE by a wireless company. (See table.)
Canalys also found that the top five smartphone shippers in the third quarter accounted for 84 percent of total U.S. smartphone shipments.
The U.S. is the world's largest smartphone market, and Android holds almost 70 percent of smartphone-platform share in the U.S. compared with 57 percent worldwide, Canalys also said.
In the U.S., HTC shipped 5.7 million smart phones under its own brand plus an estimated 70,000 units under the T-Mobile brand, Canalys said. "However you count it, HTC has become a deserved leader in the U.S. smartphone market," said Canalys VP Chris Jones. "This is an awesome achievement for HTC, which has built a premium brand in a highly competitive market in just a few short years. It now has a strong range of 4G Android products, with devices ranged by each of the major carriers, and offers some of the most compelling and differentiated products found on the platform today."
For its part, Samsung pushed Apple down to third place in U.S. share as shipments of Samsung-brand smartphones hit 4.9 million units in the quarter, Canalys found. Apple's U.S. smart phone shipments fell sequentially in the second and third quarters to a third-quarter 4.6 million because consumers waited for the launch of the next-generation iPhone, Canalys said. Although "Apple did not stir the usual excitement levels in the industry with the announcement of the iPhone 4S," Jones said, "that was never likely to dampen volumes due to pent up demand from the later-than-expected launch and the addition of Sprint as a third carrier." Jones said he expects a strong fourth quarter for Apple sales.
For its part, "RIM had another tough quarter in its largest market," Canalys said. RIM's volume declined 58 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, and its share slipped from 24 percent in last year's third quarter to 11.4 percent in the third quarter of 2011. RIM "continues to face unfavorable press [in the U.S.], and its volumes have dropped significantly despite a refreshed product line that includes its flagship BlackBerry Bold 9900.
Canalys senior analyst Tim Shepherd said, "While Apple can for now get away with not having a 4G smartphone, no other vendor in the U.S. can. RIM must deliver a competitive high-end 4G smart phone in early 2012."
Outside the U.S., RIM shipments grew 59 percent in the EMEA region and 56 percent in the APAC region compared to the year-ago quarter. "But undoubtedly RIM needs to deliver new, fresh, exciting products to the market and increase its pace of innovation and execution if it is going to have any chance of reasserting its position in North America," said Shepherd. "It badly needs to deliver on its potential with its new BBX platform."