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Apple's iPhone Continues to Outpace Smartphone Industry Growth

Research firm IDC today issued a report highlighting fourth quarter and full year worldwide sales numbers of "converged mobile devices", more commonly known as smartphones, revealing continuing outstanding growth for Apple's iPhone above the overall industry already-healthy growth rate.

According to the data, Apple's shipments for the fourth quarter of 2009 were up 97.7% year-over-year, in line with results reported by Apple in its most recent earnings release and well ahead of the smartphone industry's 39% growth overall. The 8.7 million iPhones shipped during the quarter placed Apple solidly in third place with 16.0% market share behind Research in Motion and Nokia, both of which saw growth in line with the overall industry's growth rate.


Worldwide Smartphone Shipments in 4Q09 in Millions of Units (Source: IDC)

For all of 2009, Apple similarly held down the third position behind Research in Motion and Nokia, shipping 25.1 million iPhones for an increase of 81.9% over 2008 and enough to hold 14.4% of the worldwide market for year, up from 9.1% in 2008. Overall, the market grew by only 15% year-over-year, with only Research in Motion (46.2% growth) joining Apple in outperforming the industry.


Worldwide Smartphone Shipments in 2009 in Millions of Units (Source: IDC)

Earlier this week, data from ABI Research revealed that Apple's share of the worldwide smartphone market had slipped slightly between the third and fourth quarters of 2009 as Apple was unable to keep pace with overall industry growth rates. The report apparently failed, however, to address the typically stronger seasonal effect seen in Apple's sales numbers compared to other manufacturers that release multiple new handsets throughout the year.

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