Worldwide smartphone sales to end users soared to 149 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 47.3 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2010, according to Gartner. Smartphone sales in the full year 2011 reached 472 million units and accounted for 31 percent of all mobile devices sales, up 58 percent from 2010.
Smartphone growth was led by the iPhone, which propelled Apple to the number-three spot in the overall mobile handset market and the top position in the smartphone segment. Apple’s growth came mainly in Western Europe and North America. Overall mobile device sales to end users totaled 476.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 5.4 percent increase from a year earlier. For the full year, end users bought 1.8 billion phones, an 11.1 percent increase from 2010. Gartner expects the overall market to grow by around 7 percent in 2012, while smartphone growth will slow to around 39 percent.
In Q4, Nokia remained leader of the overall market, with a 23.4 percent share, while Samsung improved to 19.4 percent, and Apple more than doubled its market share to 7.4 percent. Chinese handset maker ZTE also doubled its share to 4.0 percent, and its rival Huawei rose to 2.9 percent, while LG fell to 3.6 percent, and Research In Motion dropped to 2.8 percent. HTC grew its share to 2.3 percent of the market, and Alcatel (TCL) edged up to 1.9 percent. Motorola had 2.1 percent share. In terms of operating systems, Google’s Android took an estimated 50.9 percent share of sales in Q4, while Apple’s iOS rose to 23.8 percent.
Symbian’s share plunged to 11.7 percent from 32.3 a year ago, and BlackBerry dropped to 8.8 percent from 14.6. Samsung’s Bada had 2.1 percent of the market, and Microsoft was at 1.9 percent.