Nokia has dropped out of the top five smartphone manufacturers as it navigates its migration away from Symbian to Windows Phone.
According to IDC's quarterly report on the mobile market for the three months to 30 September, Nokia was hit by the continued success of Apple and Samsung as well as the rise of Huawei in China. The Finnish manufacturer was replaced in the smartphone top five by Research in Motion (RIM) but it still remains the second biggest phone maker after Samsung. Last week, Nokia revealed it made a loss of €969m and warned its smartphones would have a 'challenging' fourth quarter.
Ramon Llamas, research manager at IDC's mobile phone team, said: 'Nokia is not the only smartphone vendor in transition. RIM, although still a market leader, expects to start shipping its first BB10 devices in 2013. Motorola, once the number 3 smartphone vendor worldwide, is redirecting itself under its parent company Google. These are just two vendors among many that feel the competitive pressure of Samsung and Apple, but are striving to create multiple points of differentiation to asset upward pressure.'
Samsung continued its dominance as the number one smartphone maker, shipping more than double the handsets of its closest rival Apple - 56.3 million compared to 26.9 miliion. IDC said: 'Samsung's growth was fueled in large part by its broad, deep and refreshed Android portfolio, highlighted by full quarter availability of its flagship Galaxy S III.' Samsung's shipments were up 100.4% on last year.
Because of the late September launch of the iPhone 5, Apple's shipments were broadly flat on its previous quarter but up 57.3% on 2011.
BlackBerry maker RIM had the second highest year-on-year decline of any of the leading vendors, with shipments down 34.7% to 7.7 million. IDC said: 'RIM relied on its older product portfolio and models to achieve its status as a top 5 smartphone seller. RIM's installed base, which topped 80 million active users during the quarter, provides further evidence of the company's widespread evidence globally.' However, it warned it will be under 'tremendous pressure' from rivals in the weeks leading up to its Q1 launch of its BB10 OS.
ZTE had the second strongest growth, with shipments up 82.9% to 7.5 million. IDC said that it was boosted by an increase in sales in emerging markets, as well as 'notable progress' made in North America. HTC rounded off the top five with 7.3 million shipments, down 48.3% on last year. IDC said it would face a challenge in convincing consumers to buy its devices over its rivals.
Overall, 179.7 million smartphones were shipped during the quarter, up 45.3% on last year. Total handset shipments were 444.5 million, up 2.4% on last year. IDC's Llamas said he was optimistic about the long-term growth in shipments across the manufacturing sector. He said: 'At the heart of mobility is communication. Mobile phones and smartphones play a critical role in keeping people connected, regardless of location. In addition, their utility beyond communication - productivity, entertainment and multimedia - continues to add to their value.'
Editor: Graeme Neill