Business, Enterprise, Hardware

Analysis: Record 80 Million Smartphones sold in 3Q 2010

We now have the final numbers for the total smartphone shipments, as reported by The Big Four in analyst houses: Gartner, IDC, Canalys and Strategy Analytics. As always, we took the average of their reported quarterly total numbers and are calling the third quarter total smartphone sales at 80 million even. Last quarter was at 61.7 million, but if you compare 3Q 2010 to the same quarter last year, you get shocking growth: 41.06 million to today’s 80 million is almost 100% Year-on-Year growth!

So the year is only heating up with smartphone sales! I am now projecting the year to end in the 290M to 300M range, which is well above what all analysts [including us] thought at the start of this year. It means also, that we are very close to whether smartphones outsell all types of personal computers including tablet PCs, this year. I was expecting that to happen next year.

So let’s see how the smartphone manufacturers split up for the third quarter in market share. I have reliable numbers for only the top 6, so that is how far we can go.

  1. Nokia, Finland, 26.5 million for 33.1%
  2. Apple, USA, 14.1 million for 17.6%
  3. RIM, Canada, 12.4 million for 15.5%
  4. Samsung, South Korea, 7.9 million for 9.8%
  5. HTC, Taiwan, 6.8 million for 8.5%
  6. Motorola, USA, 3.8 million for 4.8%

Others – about 35 manufacturers, 8.5 million for 10.6%

TOTAL 80.0 million smartphones sold in 3Q 2010

The market grew by 30% in just one quarter and 93% Year-on-Year, something of a wet dream for any industry. The smartphone market is nearly doubling on an annual basis, growing about 90% depending on which analyst numbers and which exact point in time you use as the reference point. As to a migration of all phones, globally a quarter [24.5%] of all phones sold now are smartphones. In advanced markets its now about half, like here in Hong Kong with 48% of all phones sold are smartphones.

Every one of the big 6 smartphone makers grew unit sales from 2Q, but Apple and Samsung grew far faster than the market. Note that Apple growth pattern is the exception to all others on the list, because they only release one new model per year, their big growth is always this 3Q period, then their sales are relatively flat for the next three quarters.

Two major leaps here, Apple leaped past RIM to take second place – something that the pundits had expected to have happened long ago – and the more stunning sudden jump is Samsung, who passed HTC for fourth place. Of the other major Android makers, Motorola and HTC grew a little faster than the industry this quarter, but Samsung rocketed with the biggest growth percentage of any smartphone maker, propelled by the Galaxy line of smartphones. The Galaxy line alone is bigger than Motorola and almost as big as all HTC phones sold.

Nokia had a typically weak third quarter – traditionally Nokia’s worst quarter of the year [August is always the worst month for sales in Europe], hurt even more this time due to the further delays to the flagship N8, which only shipped on the last day of the quarter. But be forewarned, Nokia always follows the weak 3Q with its strongest quarter in smartphones, 4Q, with the Christmas sales period. And even in its weakest moment of the year, Nokia sells more smartphones than its nearest rivals number 2 [Apple] and number 3 [RIM] – combined.

Under the radar, of the big 5 dumbphone makers, LG is having a horrid year in smartphones but they made smart moves for 2011: replaced their CEO and went for sole hardware platform to lower development cost. SonyEricsson is doing a brave attempt but can’t near Motorola’s numbers. Sharp from Japan is likely to soon report robust numbers judging by their aggressive moves to return to international markets. Fujitsu’s sales tend to still be only in Japan.

The real story for most of our readers is the smartphone operating system platform war, as that has a direct impact to any developers out there.

  1. Symbian [Nokia] 29.0 million for 36%
  2. Android [Google] 20.0 million for 25%
  3. iOS [Apple] 14.1 million for 18%
  4. Blackberry OS [RIM] 12.4 million for 16%
  5. Windows Mobile [Microsoft] 2.4 million for 3%
  6. Bada [Samsung] 1.3 million for 2%

Others 0.8 million for 1%

TOTAL: 80 million

Symbian has for the first time fallen below the 40% level, as the other non-Nokia and non-Japanese manufacturers are defecting from the Symbian family. I reported last quarter that Android had passed the others to take the second place in operating systems. Not all agreed with that view. Now clearly Android is moving far ahead and there is no longer any doubt, its lead is so big to number 3, Apple’s iOS. Blackberry OS rounds up the top 4 who are ‘major’ operating systems, each powering at least one in 7 smartphones sold worldwide.

Microsoft is vanishing from the radar, now down to 3% only. Meanwhile Samsung’s Bada makes its first appearance on the charts, as the most successful new OS launch since the original iPhone. Yes, it’s true, Bada’s first 4 months have been even more successful than Android’s first four months. Keep your eyes on Bada.

I am also tracking each of the smartphone operating systems by brand. The Android handset distribution might be of interest to some of our readers. I have the top 4 makers for the Android family in 3Q split as follows:

  1. HTC 33%
  2. Samsung 31%
  3. Motorola 18%
  4. SonyEricsson 8%

Others 10%

As always, feel free to quote any of these numbers and please mention that the source is TomiAhonen Consulting.

For anyone interested in the industry statistics and numbers, remember my annual publication with 84 charts, tables and graphs of the major mobile industry numbers – at 180 pages, it’s a terrific bargain at only 9.99 Euros. See sample stats and pages at TomiAhonen Almanac 2010.