Gartner: Google & Apple Obvious Winners in Smartphone Market

Google and Apple are the obvious winners in the smartphone market during the June quarter of 2011, according to market research firm Gartner. The company released new data this week showing that Apple was the only device manufacturer of the top four to show market share gains, and that only Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS gained share in the battle for operating system share.

“Google and Apple are the obvious winners in the smartphone ecosystem,” the company wrote in a statement. “The combined share of iOS and Android in the smartphone operating system (OS) market doubled to nearly 62 percent in the second quarter of 2011, up from just over 31 percent in the corresponding period of 2010.”

The company added that, “these two OSes have the usability that consumers enjoy, the apps that consumers feel they need, and increasingly a portfolio of services delivered by the platform owner as well.”

Gartner’s newest report is based on sales to end users, as opposed to sales from manufacturers into the retail channel.

Overall, sales of smartphone devices were up 74% year-over-year, and they accounted for 25% of the broader mobile market. That’s up from17% of the mobile device market in the June quarter of 2010.

Hardware Sales

Looking first at hardware sales, we offer a chart with mobile device unit sales by vendor in Q2 of 2010 compared to Q2 of 2011. These numbers are for the entire mobile handset market, including feature phones and smartphones.

That chart shows the steep decline of Nokia’s unit sales, as well as the sharp increase in unit sales by Apple, HTC, and Chinese firm Huwaei Device. Samsung, the industry’s second largest mobile handset maker, turned in a smaller gain in percentage terms, while Sony Ericcson showed a sharp decrease in sales.

Worldwide Mobile Device Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2Q11
(Thousands of Units)

Mobile Unit Unit Sales

Chart by The Mac Observer from data published by Gartner

If we turn to the charts to see market share, we get a slightly different view, where Nokia, Samsung, and LG all lost market share, even though of those three, Samsung did increase its unit sales. Nokia’s unit share fell from 30.3% to 22.8%, while Samsung slipped 1.5% to 16.3%, and LG dropped 2.3% to 5.7%.

Apple, on the other hand, grew its share of the mobile handset market from 2.4% to 4.6%, and again, that’s counting all feature phones, not just smartphones.

Worldwide Mobile Device Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2Q11

Mobile Device Market Share by Vendor

Chart by The Mac Observer from data published by Gartner

In its report, Gartner said that Apple “continued to exceed expectations, even though the iPhone 4 will soon be replaced by a new model.”

The firm attributed some of Apple’s unit growth to the 42 new carriers the company signed up in some 15 different countries. Gartner said that Apple’s sales in China propelled the company to be the third largest smartphone vendor in the country, and the 7th largest mobile handset maker.

We also put together a chart showing smartphone market share by operating system. That chart shows in stark, crystal clear terms that Google’s Android has quickly become king of the smartphone market in terms of market share. It also shows that Apple’s iOS (and this is counting only iPhones—neither iPod touches nor iPads are part of the mobile handset market) is the only other platform that is actually growing.

While Research In Motion lost a significant amount of share, dropping from 19% to 12% of the smartphone market, it was Nokia that gave it up like a two-bit hooker, dropping from 41% market share to 22% year-over year. Android mushroomed from 17% to 43%, while Apple’s iOS grew from 14% to 18%.

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System

Mobile Smartphone Operating System Market Share

Chart by The Mac Observer from data published by Gartner

We should point out that Apple and Google continue to fight different wars in many respects. Google’s market share will eventually matter when it comes to ad sales, while Apple is selling hardware, and consistently claims the lion’s share of the entire mobile handset industry’s device profits.