iSuppli: Smartphone Market Declines, but Apple iPhone Grows 15%

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Apple Inc. turned in double digit sequential sales growth with its iPhone product line during the March quarter of 2011, even though the global smartphone market as a whole showed a sequential decline of 1.5%, according to new figures released by research firm IHS iSuppli. The company said that Apple maintained its second place ranking in smartphones behind Nokia, whose sales declined by 14.5%, and ahead of Research In Motion, whose saw modest growth of 4.2%.

iSuppli Table

iSuppli pointed to the release of the first CDMA iPhone and the addition of Verizon as a second major U.S. carrier during the quarter as a prime driver of Apple’s growth. This boosted sales of the iPhone, and it did so at the direct expense of competitors, the firm argued.

“Not only did this allow Apple to expand its target market and boost shipments,” Tina Teng, senior analyst, wireless communications, for IHS, said in a statement, “it also placed additional pressure on rival smart phone brands—including Motorola, Samsung, LG and HTC—that focus on Verizon Wireless as a major customer.”

The company also said that the Verizon iPhone hurt Motorola the most because Moto has focused its U.S. business around Verizon. Motorola saw a 16.3% decline in global unit sales.

In the global race, Apple managed to significantly cut into Nokia’s lead as the world’s #1 maker of smartphone devices. In the December quarter of 2010, Nokia had a 12.2 percentage point lead on Apple, when Nokia shipped 28.3 million smartphones compared to Apple’s 16.2 million iPhones. That gap narrowed to just 5.7 percentage points in the March quarter, when Nokia shipped 24.2 million devices and Apple shipped 18.6 million iPhones.

The Mac Observer put together two charts to show how the global smartphone business was shaped during the last two quarters. The first one shows total units for each of the top ten brands, plus the eleventh category of “Others.” It demonstrates how Apple has narrowed the gap between it and Nokia, while widening the gap with all other competitors.

Unit shipments for Q4 2010 and Q1 2011 for the top ten brands, plus “Others”,  in millions of units

Global Smartphone Shipments

Graph built by The Mac Observer from iSuppli data

The second chart offers the same numbers but in a form that more readily shows just how much of the global smartphone business is dominated by Nokia, Apple, and RIM. It also clearly represents Apple’s growing chunk of the market.

Total unit shipments for Q4 2010 and Q1 2011 in millions of units

Global Smartphone Shipments

Graph built by The Mac Observer from iSuppli data

There were two more points of interest we found in iSuppli’s report. The first is the LG’s sequential growth in the March quarter was explosive. While the company’s overall market share of 4.1% during the quarter remains small, its growth of 60% from 2.5 million units to 4 million units is huge.

We also noted that name brands took a large chunk of business away from the “Others” category, which saw its business shrink from 6.2 million units to 4.4 million. This could well be the effect of Android’s ascendency as a platform knocking out a variety of erstwhile competing smartphone platforms.

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10 Comments Leave Your Own

Lee Dronick

“Graph built by The Mac Observer from iSuppli data”

Data aside, the graphs are beautiful. What did you use to create them?

BurmaYank

Q1 ‘11 global smartphone market:
- Nokia/Symbian: 24.9% (-14.5%)
- Apple: 19.2% (+14.9%)
- Research In Motion: 15.2% (+4.2%)
- Androids, WebOS & all others: 40.7%

These were March’s global smartphone numbers.  Projecting the trendslopes at that point to today suggests both Apple & RIM must be already ahead of Nokia by now (but probably not Samsung’s or any lesser Android smartphone).

Bryan Chaffin

I’ve been using Numbers to make graphs, Sir Hank.

wab95

Bryan:

Beautiful graphics. Very informative.

The LG growth is explosive, to be sure, but it appears that all the Android handset makers are doing well.

Apple have their work cut out for them, and that’s a good thing. Nokia, on the other hand, appear not to have stopped the rot nor extinguished that burning platform.

Nokia’s and Microsoft’s investors can only hope that the two of them have a plan.

Bryan Chaffin

Aye, wab, all/most the Android handset makers are doing well, or are at least seeing year-0ver-year growth. Indeed, today’s report from iSuppli is a precise demonstration of why the platform war in the smartphone industry (that we covered as recently as Friday) is separate from the hardware war.

They are separate issues with different meanings to the different parties involved, something that some folks tend to forget (which is not addressed at you in any way—I’m talking big picture with this rambling comment). smile

mhikl

Doesn’t look like Apple is treading water as one loose canon mentioned on the weekend. The Droids may be “doing well” enough but their profits, that would be a story to hear as possibly suggested in the “year-Over-year growth” note.
Good that Verizon numbers are fruitful. wink

wab95

They are separate issues with different meanings to the different parties involved, something that some folks tend to forget

Indeed (and no, I did not take it that it was directed at me, although it wouldn’t have bothered me if it had been), this is one of my pet peeves, that pundits who should know better conflate the issues of platform and hardware, or worse, business model and platform vs hardware. These characters are not even confusing forest for trees, they are simply confused.

Good stuff, keep it coming. Looking forward in particular to iPhone 5 market effects, when they happen.

qualitywte

The opening that Apple gave Android at Verizon is now closed and we are just now starting to see the results of that.  They left no such opening with the iPad so Android is having to compete face to face (and is losing).

Also, keep in mind that a portion of the Android “market share” includes lots of cheap junk out there.  Whereas, Apple’s market share includes only iPhones!

Constable Odo

Also, keep in mind that a portion of the Android ?market share? includes lots of cheap junk out there.  Whereas, Apple?s market share includes only iPhones!

The pundits also don’t consider the BOGO and $.01 Android smartphone offerings (RIM included) to boost up sales and activations.  I think those coming Apple retail stores in China are going to help Apple move an awful lot of iPhones next year if the Chinese actually are enamored with the Apple brand.  Surely, there’ll be white iPhone 5s being sold if the Chinese consumer is attracted to the color white.

wab95

I think those coming Apple retail stores in China are going to help Apple move an awful lot of iPhones next year

Asia looms large in Apple’s future, Constable, and you are right to call attention to it. China alone is going to substantially boost Apple’s revenue.

To be sure, the same can be expected for Android. My guess is that this is also the market in which MS/Nokia hope to reinvent themselves - a sort of ‘this is not the old me, this is the new me’ kind of thing.

Two factors make the future hard to predict (although this doesn’t stop the intrepid pundit nor the fact-free FUD factories): 1) the race to put out new and innovative tech in handsets and 2) the expansion into emerging markets. Each of these alone are powerful drivers of global market share, but the interplay between these two forces will, I suspect, have a multiplicative effect on consumer uptake and ultimately determine which of these handsets dominates the market and consumer mindshare.

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