The Global Smartphone Market– Nokia Rules, Samsung and HTC Grows

The global smartphone market is going through a defining phase. Rumors are that Nokia will partner with Microsoft for Windows Mobile operating system and expect some key shakeup in the company (this week), though the good news is that Nokia still is the #1 smartphone seller.

As per the latest data from IDC, Nokia sold 28.3 million smartphones in Q4, 2010 while Apple sold only 16.2 million. In total, Nokia leads the pack for 2010 (sold 100.3 million smartphones) at a y-o-y growth of 48.2%, while Samsung has grown phenomenally well at 318.2%.

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Nokia noted the positive progress of its new Symbian^3 smartphones during 4Q10: five million units combined from the N8, C7, and C601 worldwide, a strong showing given their recent introduction to the market. At the same time, Nokia’s volumes are largely comprised of older devices, while MeeGo-powered devices have yet to arrive on the market. In addition, Nokia continues to struggle in the North America market. The recent cancellation of the X7 smartphone at AT&T highlights Nokia’s challenges.

Apple‘s iPhone gained more ground in the worldwide smartphone market, with shipment volume growth coming from Asia/Pacific and Japan. In addition, Apple made further inroads into the enterprise market, with more companies adding Apple to their approved smartphone list and increased development of corporate-centered applications. Rumors of an iPhone 5 have begun to heat up the blogosphere, with many expecting a new design and perhaps a mobile wallet.

Research In Motion reached a new shipment volume for a single quarter in 4Q10, and posted nearly identical year-over-year growth for both the quarter and the year. Driving growth was stronger interest from outside North America, with several markets posting double-digit gains. Meanwhile, RIM continued to enjoy market leadership in North America, but nonetheless saw mounting challenges from the competition. Popular devices for the quarter included the BlackBerry Torch and the BlackBerry Curve 3G.

Samsung took top honors for having the largest year-over-year improvement for both the quarter and for the year, an accomplishment largely fueled by its popular Galaxy S series smartphones. New Galaxy devices are expected to launch, including the Galaxy Fit, Ace, and Mini. Not to be overlooked are Samsung’s bada-branded smartphones, as well as its emerging Windows Phone smartphones, both of which received a warm reception. Samsung has set its sights on growing market share at least 40% in 2011.

HTC reaped triple-digit growth for both the quarter and for the year, second only to Samsung. Driving its success were its increased brand awareness, market positioning, and a series of devices that have resonated well with users and carriers alike. Following its success in 2010, the company known for being ‘quietly brilliant’ aims to become a preferred brand for smartphone users in 2011, while leveraging its scalability to drive business in Asia/Pacific and other emerging markets.

Vendor 2010 Units Shipped 2010 Market Share 2009 Units Shipped 2009 Market Share Year-over-year growth
Nokia 100.3 33.1% 67.7 39.0% 48.2%
Research In Motion 48.8 16.1% 34.5 19.9% 41.4%
Apple 47.5 15.7% 25.1 14.5% 89.2%
Samsung 23 7.6% 5.5 3.2% 318.2%
HTC 21.5 7.1% 8.1 4.7% 165.4%
Others 61.5 20.3% 32.6 18.8% 88.7%
Total 302.6 100.0% 173.5 100.0% 74.4%

By the end of the quarter, Nokia had shipped five million Symbian^3 units while Windows Phone 7 vendors shipped more than 1.5 million units.

If you compare the numbers with 2009 data, Samsung and HTC has shown substantial growth, while Nokia and RIM have witnessed a decline in market share.

Times, they are a changing? Most importantly, Smartphone market is no more about the number of devices – it’s about what can you do with the device that makes it more interesting play (Steve Jobs taught this theory to the world).

What’s your opinion?

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