Apple's Share of Global Mobile Phone Market Hits 5%

091933 idc 1q11 phones

Research firm IDC today released results for global mobile phone sales for the first quarter of 2011, showing Apple hitting a 5% share of the overall market for the first time. The data also shows Apple regaining the fourth-place position it lost to ZTE last quarter.

Apple maintained its number 4 spot on IDC's Top 5 list thanks to a record quarter for unit shipments. The company posted the highest growth rate of the worldwide leaders. Apple's results were buoyed by strong sales on Verizon Wireless and additional carrier deals; the company is now on 186 carriers operating in 90 countries. The iPhone once again sold particularly well in developed economic regions of the world, such as North America and Western Europe.

Apple's 114.9% year-over-growth easily led the major mobile phone manufacturers and enabled the company to grow its share of the market from 2.8% to 5.0%.

Apple's initial goal when it launched the iPhone in 2007 was to capture 1% of the global mobile phone market, a figure met with some skepticism by the company's competitors. Apple of course quickly reached that goal and has continued to post strong unit sales growth as consumers have increasingly turned to smartphones for their mobile device needs.

In support of IDC's numbers, Strategy Analytics released a similar report today showing Apple with 5.3% of the overall worldwide mobile phone market for the quarter. The primary difference between the two reports comes from IDC counting approximately 20 million more handsets in the "Others" category than Strategy Analytics.

A report released just yesterday by NPD showed Apple taking 14% of the total mobile market in the United States, but the company of course holds a lower share of the worldwide market due in part to the premium pricing its devices carry in many countries where consumers are more likely to purchase low-end phones on prepaid plans.

Top Rated Comments

SandynJosh Avatar
127 months ago

I only know 2 people with an iphone all the rest have either the HTC Desire or Desire HD. Once I showed my friends my Desire they all switched. Same as my work too. Nearly everyone had an iphone then I brought my HTC into the office and within a few weeks everyone had a Desire :D


HINT: When lying, always make it a believable lie.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
acidfast7 Avatar
127 months ago
In Stockholm and Frankfurt, I hardly see any iPhones. Also, I hardly see any iPads. I do however see a ton of MacBookPros but almost no MacBookAirs.

I find both places very style-centric (Stockholm especially), but also somewhat frugal. I don't think that iPhone will reach as large of a market share in Europe due to the high upfront cost of an iPhone (659€/799€ for 16GB/32GB).

Actually, it's running joke that you can identify an American by iPhone/iPad (aside from the loud inane conversation).
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WolfXL Avatar
127 months ago

Guess not, if I was selling Fruit on my market stall and someone said, what's your top/best selling item of fruit and I said, oh, Apple's Apples are the No.1 and No.2 best selling pieces of fruit I have, they outsell everything.

Oh, so you sell loads of Apples the guy asks?

No, I don't sell that many Apple's compared to my other fruit.

the bloke leave with a confused look on his face.


Just because someone is confused by math, doesn't make the math wrong.

To use your fruit example. Say your top 2 selling fruits were green and red apples. 30 red, and 20 green each a day. Which would account for 50 apples a day. Now to keep things simple, let's say you also sell 95 other fruits that aren't apples, but you only sell 10 of each of them a day.

Now, in a day, you sell 3 times as many red apples as you do to all non-apple fruits, and you sell 2 times as many green apples as you do to all non-apple fruits. They are your top 2 sellers by far....but they still only account for 5% of your fruit sales.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bpaluzzi Avatar
127 months ago

The problem for Apple is that Android handsets come out, which are the very top and, as you say the same price, then a while later a new top Android phone comes out, so the old one gets offered to people at a lower price, then an even newer Android handset comes out, so the original one is now offered at a very lower price and so it goes on.

So, people can may a LOT for an iPhone or get an Android phone that was the very best a while ago for much less.

Apple don't tend to let old models slip down the pricing ladder in this way, hence they will always lose out from amass of sales that are at low to medium price bracket, and that's where the bulk of the consumer market is.

Apple are the only ones that lose out due to this policy.

And to be honest, a lot of people don't know, care, understand. the iPhone is just another phone, like and Android phone. they are all the same thing, you can get apps and games on them all and they are all phones.

Lots of people just don't care.


Cool story. Only problem, of course, is the facts.

iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS are the #1 and #2 selling handsets.

Not big on business sense, are you? Apple doesn't "let old models slip down on pricing" because they don't have to. Do you think other companies reduce prices on their phones out of the goodness of their heart? They lower the prices because nobody wants them.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Small White Car Avatar
127 months ago
I'm still amazed that we're at the point where we can measure Apple on the 'mobile phone' scale and not just the 'smartphone' scale.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OllyW Avatar
127 months ago
Grabbing 5% of the total phone market with an expensive product is amazing in such a short time. :cool:
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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