Steve Jobs recently said that iPhone was winning in the global smartphone sales race. Then BlackBerry maker RIM's CEO, Jim Balsillie, said that it wasn't true. Now Strategy Analytics figures are proving Jobs correct in terms of units shipped, while the entire smartphone market grew larger. Nokia, however, still remains the top smartphone maker and seller in the world.
Global shipments of smartphones reached a record 77 million units and, annual growth hit 78%. Apple was the star performer; it overtook RIM and closed the gap on Nokia to the smallest level since first entering the mobile market in 2007. Apple shipped 14.1 million iPhones while RIM shipped 12.4 million BlackBerry smartphones.
Nokia shipped a record 26.5 million smartphones worldwide in Q3 2010, rising 61% from 16.4 million units shipped a year earlier. We believe that sales to Europe and Latin America were notably robust. However, the record volumes were not enough to prevent Nokia's global marketshare slipping to a low of 34%. Nokia is facing competition not just from Apple and RIM but also from a wave of ambitious Android players, such as Samsung, HTC and Sony Ericsson. Nokia was shipping 3 times more smartphones than Apple last year, but now Nokia is shipping 2 times more smartphones.
APPLE shipped a larger-than-expected 14.1 million iPhones worldwide in Q3 2010, almost doubling from 7.4 million units a year earlier. Apple navigated its way through a barrage of criticism about the "antenna-gate" problem and drove its marketshare to a record high of 18% during the quarter. Key markets for Apple included the USA, UK, France and Japan. Major carrier partners and subsidizers of the iPhone included AT&T, O2 and Orange. Apple's main hardware competitors remain Nokia and RIM, but Samsung and HTC are rapidly expanding their Android portfolios and are attempting to close the gap on Apple.
RIM shipped 12.4 million smartphones worldwide during Q3 2010, up from 8.5 million units a year earlier. RIM's annual growth rate improved to 46% during the quarter, its highest level since Q1 2009. International expansion is feeding the growth, with volumes outside North America now making up to 52% of its worldwide total. However, RIM continues to be hampered by a limited presence in the high-growth touchscreen segment, and consequently its global smartphone marketshare has edged down from 19% to 16% during the past 12 months.
Global smartphone volumes rose a huge 78% annually to 77 million units during Q3 2010. Smartphones made up 23% of total worldwide handset volumes during the quarter, leaping from 20% in the prior quarter. Sales were driven heavily by Apple and by several major Android players expanding their smartphone ranges, such as Samsung and HTC.
Despite moderate component shortages in application processors and touchscreens, global smartphone shipment growth reached 78% annually in Q3 2010, its fastest rate since the mid-2000s. We expect component shortages to remain a challenge for smartphone vendors through the western and eastern holiday seasons of Q4 2010 and Q1 2011. The smartphone industry is still struggling to ramp up the production capacity of key components after major cutbacks during the recession of 2009, while smartphones are now facing extra competition for many of the same components from the emerging tablet segment.
Exhibit 1: Q3 2010 Global Smartphone Shipments and Market Share Estimates - Top 3 Vendors
Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)
Global Smartphone Vendor Marketshare %