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October 31, 2011

Worldwide mobile phone market grew 12.8% in Q3: IDC

Nokia is the top vendor in the third quarter

By CBR Staff Writer

The worldwide mobile phone market grew 12.8% year over year in the third quarter of 2011, as smartphone growth declined in key mature markets, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker.

Vendors shipped 393.7 million units in the third quarter of 2011, compared to 348.9 million units in the same quarter previous year, the tracker said.

IDC said the 12.8% growth was higher than its forecast of 9.3% for the quarter and stronger than the 9.8% growth in 2Q11, and a reflection of delayed smartphone purchases and conservative consumer spending last quarter.

The shipment volume declined on a year-over-year basis in economically mature regions, such as the US and Western Europe, which were hardest hit.

IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker senior research analyst Kevin Restivo said the combination of economic uncertainty and anticipation over fourth quarter or late third quarter product releases caused some consumers to delay their smartphone purchases.

"Many waited for products such as the iPhone 4S, which was announced after the quarter closed, or Research In Motion’s BlackBerry 7 phone series, which were released in the final weeks of the quarter," Restivo said.

In Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ), feature phones recovered in the third quarter, while in Japan, the market rebounded sharply after two quarters of either low single-digit growth or outright market decline following the natural disasters this spring.

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The Western European phone market declined as a result of lower demand for both feature phones and smartphones. The smartphone device type growth was mainly driven by mid-tier Android devices.

Overall the Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMA) markets showed strong growth due in large part to Nokia’s rebound in the regions.

Nokia had a very strong Q3 2011 due to feature phone growth, while niche smartphone brand HTC did particularly well in some markets, including Russia, as well as RIM continues to make progress in the Middle East and Africa, but fared less well in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Latin America market growth was driven by smartphones though some users delayed purchases in anticipation of new hero device launches in the region.

Nokia reversed a global market share on a sequential basis last quarter primarily due to stronger feature phone sales, while Samsung registered double-digit growth compared to the third quarter a year ago and also outpaced the market, driven by the Galaxy S2 sales.

LG Electronics maintained its position as the number 3 mobile vendor worldwide, followed by ZTE, while apple gained share and posted the third-highest growth rate of any Top 5 vendor but dropped to the number 5 position globally.

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