Samsung wins the worldwide crown, according to IDC's data, which backs up numbers from other analyst firms. IDC says that Samsung sold 23.6 million phones in its most recent quarter, giving it a worldwide market share of 20.0%. In the year-ago quarter, Samsung sold 7.3 million phones and owned 8.8% of the worldwide market. Its growth year-over-year was a whopping 223.3%.
"Samsung's ascendancy to the leadership position is the direct result of its broad and deep product portfolio," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team, in the company's report. "Ever since the first Galaxy device launched last year, the company has aggressively expanded and refreshed its selection to include the latest innovations and most popular features. At the same time, its line-up of bada-branded smartphones has earned a welcome reception within key markets."
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Apple managed to take the number two spot. IDC says that Apple sold 17.1 million iPhones in its most recent quarter, giving it a worldwide market share of 14.5%. In the year-ago quarter, Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones and owned 17.0% of the worldwide market. Its year-over-year growth was less than one-tenth that of Samsung's at 21.3%.
Nokia, the former world champion, somehow managed to cling onto its top five ranking, landing at the number three spot. IDC says that Nokia sold a total of 16.8 million smartphones in its most recent quarter, giving it a worldwide market share of 14.2% (barely behind Apple). In the year-ago quarter, it sold 26.5 million smartphones and owned 32.0% of the worldwide market. Nokia had negative year-over-year growth, dropping by 36.6%.
HTC ranked number four in worldwide figures for the third quarter, but saw the second-highest level of growth. It sold 12.7 million smartphones, giving it 10.8% of the world market. Last year, it sold 5.9 million phones during the third quarter, giving it 7.1% of the market. Its portion of the market grew a stunning 115.3% year-over-year.
Rounding out the top five was Research In Motion. It sold 11.8 million BlackBerry smartphones, giving it 10.0% ownership of the worldwide smartphone market. In the year-ago quarter, RIM sold 12.4 million BlackBerrys. RIM's overall market position fell 4.8% year-over-year.
IDC believes that the top five vendors are sure to change again over the coming quarters.
"Samsung's position will be a challenge to maintain, both in the fourth quarter and beyond," said Llamas. "Apple's fourth quarter launch of the iPhone 4S and lower pricing of older models will certainly boost volumes, and Nokia's recent launch of Windows Phone smartphones marks the beginning of a new era for the company. While these point to larger volumes in the quarters to come, they will also lead to increased competition."
In total, the smartphone market grew 42.6% in the third quarter of 2011 compared to the year-ago period. This number falls shy of what IDC thought the market would do during the third quarter, and fell precipitously from the second quarter of 2011, which saw the market swell by 66.7%. IDC blames the lower numbers in the third quarter on the delayed introduction of the Apple iPhone 4S.
Even so, with competitive models hitting store shelves in time for the holidays, the fourth quarter is sure to see a blow-out.