Samsung hits top smartphone vendor spot globally in Q3

iPhone still largest smartphone brand, IDC says

Samsung boosted its global smartphone shipments by 223% in the third quarter, taking the top spot for the first time among smartphone vendors, with Apple in second, IDC said Thursday.

Samsung took 20% market share with its various smartphone brands, while Apple had 14.5%, keeping the iPhone still the largest single smartphone brand, a distinction it has held for years. Nokia had 14.2% share, HTC had 10.8% and Blackberry maker Research In Motion had 10% of the global smartphone market in the third quarter, IDC added.

Only Nokia and RIM saw a decline in market share. The overall smartphone market grew 42.6% year over year, from 82.8 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2010 to 118 million in the third quarter of this year, IDC said. That growth was less than the 49% growth IDC had forecast and well behind the 67% growth in overall smartphones shipped in the second quarter of 2011.

Samsung's 223% increase year-over-year took it from 7.3 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2010 to 23.6 million in the third quarter of 2011, IDC said.

"Samsung's ascendancy to the leadership position is the direct result of its broad and deep product portfolio," said Ramon Llamas, an analyst at IDC. Following the first Android-based Galaxy smartphone launch in 2010, Samsung has "aggressively expanded," he added. Bada-branded smartphones from Samsung have also contributed to its success.

Llamas said Samsung will face tough pressure from the iPhone 4S, launched in the fourth quarter by Apple, as well as lower pricing for older iPhone models. Nokia's Windows Phone smartphones are also expected to have an impact on Samsung globally.

Samsung's growth year-over-year took it from fourth position in the third quarter of 2010 to first in the third quarter of 2011, IDC said.

Earlier this week, research firm Canalys ranked the smartphone vendors in the same order as IDC, but said Samsung shipped 27.3 million smartphones in the third quarter globally, while IDC put the number at 23.6 million.

IDC is owned by IDG, the parent company of Computerworld.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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