Nokia, Samsung and LG were under pressure in Q3 as RIM and Apple entered the top five manufacturers by units shipped.
Emerging manufacturers such as Alcatel and ZTE also put pressure on more established players in the third quarter, which saw Apple enter the top five for the first time.
CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood said: ‘Manufacturers such as Alcatel, Huawei and ZTE are nibbling around the edges. Who would have thought the established manufacturers would be picked off by RIM and Apple – and now Alcatel – in unit shipments?’
RIM shipped 12.1 million handsets during the second quarter ended 31 August 2010, up 45% on the same period last year.
Its Q3 revenue was $4.6bn, up 31% from $3.53bn in the same quarter of last year.
Around 4.5 million subscriber accounts were added in the quarter. At the end of the quarter, the total BlackBerry subscriber account base was 50 million.
Its rival HTC shipped 5.8 million smartphones, making it the fifth biggest smartphone manufacturer globally.
Wood added: ‘RIM is a dominating force in UK retail and HTC has also had a sensational year – not only in sales but in brand.’
Meanwhile, iPhone sales surged 91% during its Q3, with the company selling14.1 million iPhones and 4.19 million iPads.
Apple is now in fourth place in the global ranking of the top five mobile phone vendors in the third quarter of this year, according to analyst IDC.
IDC research shows the iPhone manufacturer ahead of RIM but still behind LG in third place and Samsung in second place, with Nokia still leading the pack.
LG’s mobile division racked up its second consecutive loss in Q3, plunging further into the red to the tune of 304 billion won (£169 million).
Shipments declined 7% quarter on quarter and 10% year on year to 28.4 million units due to weak demand in Europe and the increase in smartphone demand.
Wood said: ‘LG has cause for a little bit of optimism into 2011 – although 2010 will be one to forget. One of the big things in Q3 and Q4 is component shortages – it’s going to be fairly tough in quarter four.
‘LG could pick up some interesting opportunities. They are in a ramping up phase so they might deliver.’
Meanwhile, Motorola reported a profit for the first time in three years as well as a 6% percent year on year increase in sales in Q3.
It sold 3.8 million smartphones and mobile device sales increased by 20% year on year to $2bn. The manufacturer shipped a total of 9.1 million handsets during the quarter.
Wood said: ‘They [Motorola] have got themselves on an even keel in the US but must now build in Asia and Europe. They have an interesting portfolio.’
Samsung’s handset division also reported a strong performance in the third quarter with handset sales increasing by 12%.
The manufacturer sold 71.4 million handsets during Q3, a year on year increase of 19%. ASP also increased by 14% quarter on quarter.
The increase was attributed to the launch of the Galaxy S and Wave smartphones. Samsung is predicting that the Galaxy S will sell 10 million units by the end of the year.
Wood added: ‘Samsung are spending the money on marketing – the tablet is a fantastic halo product for the brand. It’s more about if they can deliver.’
Meanwhile, Sony Ericsson’s Q3 sales were down but profit up as its smartphone strategy started to take hold.
The company shipped 10.4 million handsets during the period – down 26% from a year earlier and down 5% on Q2. Average selling price increased 34% year on year to €154m due to ‘product and geographical mix’.
The manufacturer said 50% of its sales are now higher value smartphones.
Nokia reported a 14% drop in profit to £563m. However, handsets shipped in Europe grew by 8% to 29.2 million units, compared with 27.1 million units a year earlier. Overall, the company shipped 110.4 million units, up 2% year on year and down 1% sequentially. Smartphone volumes surged to 26.5 million units, up 61% year on year and 10% sequentially.
Average selling price rose to €65 – from €64 in Q3 2009.
Nokia claimed the decline in gross profit and gross margin was due to the industry wide shortage of key components and the appreciation of certain currencies against the euro.