Gartner: Apple’s iPhone #3 in Global OS Share, #7 in Handset Sales

Apple Inc. was the #7 manufacturer of handsets in the global market in the March quarter, the first time the company has ranked in the Top Ten, according to new data from Gartner Research. The firm also showed that iPhone OS devices ranked as #3 in worldwide smartphone sales during the quarter.

According to Gartner’s data, Apple sold some 8.36 million iPhones in the first quarter for 2.7% of the market. Though Apple technically only competes in the smartphone market with just two models of iPhone, that number was high enough to place in the top ten of the far broader market of all mobile handsets.

While Apple itself claimed 131.1% unit sales growth during the March quarter, Gartner’s sales data, which is strictly a measure of sales to end users, showed Apple with 112.1% year-over-year growth. Gartner showed Apple’s Q1 2009 unit sales to be 3.93 million, for 1.5% of the market.

“Growth came partly from new communication service providers in established markets, such as the UK, and stronger sales in new markets such as China and South Korea,” Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement.

Nokia still dominates the global handset market, having sold 110.1 million devices for 35% of the market. While the company’s unit sales were up year-over year, Nokia still lost market share. In Q1 2009, Nokia sold 97.4 million units with 36.2% of the market.

Research In Motion also made big gains in the quarter, moving into the #4 spot for handset sales, though the company is also a smartphone-only player. RIM had 10.6 million units sold for 3.4% of the market, up from 7.2 million units in Q1 2009 for 2.7% of the market.

Also on the upswing was Samsung, ZTE, G-Five (Hong Kong), and Huawei. On the losing side was LG, Sony Ericsson, and Motorola.

Worldwide Mobile Terminal Sales to End Users in 1Q10 (Thousands of Units)

Gartner Global Handset Rankings

Source: Gartner (May 2010)


Overall, smartphone sales increased 48.7% year-over year to 54.3 million units, accounting for 17.3% of all handset sales, up from 13.6% in Q1 2009.

“In the first quarter of 2010, smartphone sales to end users saw their strongest year-on-year increase since 2006,” Ms. Milanesi, said. “This quarter saw RIM, a pure smartphone player, make its debut in the top five mobile devices manufacturers, and saw Apple increase its market share by 1.2 percentage points. Android’s momentum continued into the first quarter of 2010, particularly in North America, where sales of Android-based phones increased 707 per cent year-on-year.”

As seen in the chart below, Nokia’s s OS remains the dominant smartphone operating system, but market share slipped from 48/8% to 44.3%. Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform also took a hit, slipping from 10.2% of the market to 6.8%. Linux fell, as well, from 7% to 3.7%. RIM’s BlackBerry OS market share decreased from 20.6% to 19.4%.

So who were the big winners? iPhone and Android. Apple’s iPhone OS climbed from 10.5% to 15.4%. Android, as noted by Ms. Milanesi above showed the largest grows, with Android devices leaping from 1.6% of the market in Q1 2009 to 9.6% of the market in Q1 2010.

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 1Q10 (Thousands of Units)

Gartner Worldwide Smartphone OS Chart

Source: Gartner (May 2010)