Recap of the Smartphone Market in 2011



2011 ended with smartphone sales reaching 484 million units. This is a 61% jump annually. Growth continues but it is slowing down as most of the developed markets come close to 80~90% penetration. Annual growth will probably drop to the 30% range in 2012.

For smartphones it was a two horse race in 2011 but Samsung dominated in terms of volume in the last quarter, sending out signals that 2012 will be the year of Samsung. Nokia collapsed completely this year. RIM and HTC showed ominous signs of a weak year ahead resembling the looks of Nokia.

While the traditional handset vendors showed slow to stagnant growth Chinese vendors eagerly advanced their presence in the market. Both ZTE and Huawei grew more than three fold in 2011. The majority of these sales came from the Chinese market through operator contracts.


Smartphone Shipments
(in Millions)
2009 2010 2011
Samsung 6.4 24.5 97.4
Apple 25.1 47.5 93.0
Nokia 67.8 100.1 77.3
Research in motion 34.5 48.8 51.5
HTC 10.4 23.9 44.4
Sony Ericsson 3.1 10.7 21.1
LG 0.9 6.1 20.2
Motorola 5.7 13.8 18.6
ZTE 0.0 1.1 11.5
Huawei 0.5 3.5 18.4
Pantech 0.0 0.6 4.3
Fujitsu 4.8 5.5 5.7
Others 14.7 13.9 20.5
Total 173.8 299.9 483.8


The Handset Market also enjoyed healthy growth. The market grew 14% annually to 1.6 billion units in 2011. China and India were the main sources of growth as Africa showed potential. Feature phones are now being replaced by smartphones but we still see demand for low end QWERTY feature phones and sturdy basic handsets in these Emerging Markets.

Nokia still leads with 26% market share but Samsung is trailing behind closely. The first quarter is usually a weak quarter for Nokia and a strong one for Samsung so Samsung might achieve a double crown in Q1 2012 with both smartphones and handsets. Traditional power houses like Sony, LG and Motorola are no longer interested in volume thus the “Others” category is growing phenomenally. This will probably continue in 2012.

Mobile Handset Shipments (Millions) 2009 2010 2011
Samsung 227.1 280.2 327.4
Nokia 431.8 453.0 417.1
Apple 25.1 47.5 93.0
ZTE 27.8 52.9 76.6
LG 117.9 116.7 88.1
Huawei 28.5 32.8 54.5
Alcatel 15.1 30.4 37.5
HTC 10.4 24.3 45.0
Sony (Sony Ericsson) 57.0 43.1 34.2
Motorola 55.1 37.2 41.4
RIM 34.5 48.8 51.5
Fujitsu 4.8 5.5 5.7
Sharp 9.4 10.1 7.9
Others 159.6 241.5 346.1
Total 1204.0 1424.0 1626.0
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