EL SEGUNDO, USA: Apple in the second quarter became the world’s leading smartphone brand for the first time. The company’s smartphone sales increased by 9.1 percent during the second quarter, helping it to rise one position from second place in the first quarter to become the world’s largest smartphone maker. Apple also capitalized on a 31 percent decline in shipments at longtime market leader Nokia Corp.
Apple’s iPhone line is playing a key role in the driving the rapid expansion of the smartphone market. Global smartphone unit shipments are expected to amount to 478 million units in 2011, up 62.4 percent from 294 million in 2010. Shipments will more than double by 2015, expanding to more than 1 billion units.
By 2015, smartphone shipments are expected to rise to account for more than half of all cellphones. Smartphones will represent 54.4 percent of total global mobile handset shipments in 2015, up from 32.5 percent in 2011. Much of this growth is being driven by low-end models that are attractive to first-time users and to consumers in emerging economies where subscriber levels are rising at the fastest rates, including China, India, South Asia and Africa.
“With the refresh of the iPhone line that is expected tomorrow, along with continued expansion of Apple’s sales channels, we expect the company to continue to maintain its momentum in the smartphone market in the third quarter and beyond,” said Francis Sideco, senior principal analyst, wireless communications, for IHS. “However, Samsung has been coming on strong during the last few quarters, driven by its participation in both the high- and low-end smartphone segments. One of the key indicators of how the smartphone competitive landscape will evolve during the next six to 12 months will be whether or not Apple will continue to stay exclusively in the high-end market—or if it will introduce a low-end model tomorrow.”