Guess Who's Tops In Shipping of Smartphones? You May Be Surprised!!!

Did you know globally there were 390 million cell phones sold in the third quarter of 2011. This number includes both feature phones and smartphones where overall the mobile industry saw growth of 14%.

Here's a listing of global handset shipments in millions:

  1. Nokia 106.6

  2. Samsung 88.0

  3. LG 21.1

  4. ZTE 18.5

  5. Apple 17.1

  6. Others 138.6

What is making headlines is the fact that ZTE actually used to be behind Apple in volume of devices shipped, but not anymore. ZTE has bumped Apple Inc. to fifth place.

Have questions about ZTE? Never heard of them before.

ZTE is based out of China and has a population of just over 1.3 billion people. While Apple is based in the United States where the population hovers at 300 million. Clearly, ZTE has an advantage from a numbers perspective in reaching more consumers.

But this isn't the full story. Apple has been expanding internationally including within China so there is the potential for Apple's iPhone to regain its position against ZTE. Also you have to realize Apple only sells high end smartphones while ZTE has feature phones which were included in the rankings. Remember this was global sales of all cell phones including feature phones.

From year to year there were two companies on the list that actually saw declines in their device shipments:

  • Nokia

  • LG

But the declines were not enough to offset their rankings for Q3 2011.

Nokia was able to stay atop because of strong demand for its entry level devices which feature dual-SIM cards an aspect highly favorable in emerging markets. Samsung meanwhile grew to reach an all time high market share of 23 percent due to extremely strong demand for its Galaxy line of smartphones.

There are also numbers on global market share by device manufacturer in Q3 2011:

  1. Nokia 27.3%

  2. Samsung 22.6%

  3. LG 5.4%

  4. ZTE 4.7%

  5. Apple 4.4%

  6. Others 35.5%


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