Apple and Samsung take top smartphone sales spots; Nokia falls to 3rd

Apple and Samsung have pushed Nokia into the number three position for worldwide smartphone sales, analysts have claimed, with strong Q2 2011 performance leaving Symbian devices significantly overshadowed. Apple is now the number one smartphone manufacturer, Strategy Analytics' figures suggest, with 18.5-percent of the market, while Samsung comes in at second place, with 17.5-percent. In contrast, Nokia has 15.2-percent in the last quarter, less than half the 38.1-percent in the same period twelve months ago.

That's based on Apple shipping 20.3m iPhone units in Q2, and Samsung shipping 19.2m smartphone units. Strategy Analytics had previously suggested that Samsung could beat Apple to the top spot, but it seems the Korean company's performance wasn't quite sufficient to do so. Still, year on year Samsung has shown the bigger increase: from 5-percent in Q2 2010, versus Apple's 13.5-percent in the same period.

The analysts put that down in no small part to high demand for the Galaxy S II which, Samsung announced earlier this week, had sold 5m units worldwide and set a new sales record for the company. Still, that's just a quarter of Samsung's overall smartphone sales, suggesting the Galaxy line as a whole is performing well in the market.

The same can't be said for Nokia, unfortunately, with the company's dire Q2 financial results - including a €487m loss – doing little to reassure investors. The company sold 16.7m units in the quarter; as Strategy Analytics put it, "the industry awaits Nokia's pending transition to Windows Phone 7."

In the mobile market overall, IDC says Nokia still holds the number one position with 24.2-percent of the market (where smartphones and regular phones are counted), but second place Samsung is narrowing the gap with double-digit growth pushing it to 19.2-percent share. Apple is in fourth place, with 5.6-percent, behind LG, at 6.8-percent; that positioning looks unlikely to remain the same for much longer, however, with LG's share dwindling 18.9-percent year-on-year, while Apple's has grown a whopping 141.8-percent in the same period. ZTE holds fifth place, with healthy 36-percent year-on-year growth bringing it to 4.5-percent market share.

IDC expects strong Q3 2011 launches to particularly help the smartphone market grow, especially if Apple can leverage a lower-cost model that will appeal in developing economies. Previous rumors have suggested the Cupertino company is readying just that, with a lower-cost iPhone 4S using plastic instead of glass to help save on the bill of materials.