Smartphone sales surged past PC totals—even with the iPad helping numbers—for the first time ever during the fourth quarter, according to Canalys.
sales surpassed those of PCs for the first time ever, during the fourth quarter
of 2011, according to research firm Canalys. What's more, smartphones also outsold
PCseven with the inclusion of tablets, such as the Apple iPad, into the mix.
vendors shipped 158.5 million smartphones during the quarter, up 57 percent
from 101.2 million units during the same quarter a year ago, compared with
120.2 million PCs. Smartphones led for the full year 2011, as well, on
shipments of 487.7 million units to 414.6 million PCs. Of those PC units, 63.2
million were tablets.
shipments overtaking those of client PCs should be seen as a significant
milestone," Canalys analyst Chris Jones said in a statement. "In the
space of a few years, smartphones have grown from being a niche product segment
at the high-end of the mobile phone market to becoming a truly mass-market
"tremendously," he added, are smartphones at the lower end of the
price range and consumers' growing appetites for Web browsing, content
consumption, apps and mobile services.
That said, the
firm expects smartphone sales to slow some in 2012, as vendors "exercise
greater cost control and discipline, and put more focus on profitability,"
added Jones. "Notably, even vendors who have focused on conquering the
low-end of the market with aggressive pricing, such as Huawei, ZTE and LG, are
now placing greater attention on the higher tiers. Flagship models aimed at
raising selling prices and improving margins will feature more heavily this
As IHS iSuppli
reported earlier this year, Apple was the top smartphone seller during the
fourth quarter, moving 37 million iPhones, as well as 15.4 million iPads and
5.2 million Macs.
smashed the record for the most smartphones shipped globally by any single
vendor in one quarter," wrote Canalys, "beating Nokias previous
record of 28.3 million shipped in Q4 2010."
however, Canalys found Apple to have additionally displaced Nokia as the
leading smartphone vendor for the year, on shipments of 93.1 million iPhones in
2011. According to its figures, Samsung followed with sales of 91.9 million
units, with a third-place Nokia shipping 77.3 million smartphones globally.
gave the year's top-seller crown to Samsung, reporting that it shipped 95
million units to Apple's 93 million iPhones. Nokia, it agreed, shipped in the
neighborhood of 77 million, down from 100 million a year ago.
may be due to a Canalys peculiarity. Citing Samsung's 91.9 million units for
the year, it added, "This excludes shipments of rebranded products, such
as the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, which Canalys counts under the Google
analysts, as others before them, pointed to a pent-up demand for the iPhone 4S,
to explain Apple's late surge. They also noted that Samsung's Galaxy S II
performed particularly well and called Nokia's figures, despite the
year-on-year fall, "cause for optimism," though added that Nokia must
act quickly to transition from Symbian to Windows Phone and, with Microsoft,
work to drive worldwide excitement for the brand.
devices held a 52 percent market share for the fourth quarter, to Apple iOS's
23 percent, Symbian's 12 percent and RIM BlackBerry's 8 percent. For the full
year 2011, Android's share was 49 percent, up 244 percent year-on-year, and iOS
held 19 percent, showing 96 percent annual growth, while Symbian took a 16
percent share, down nearly 30 percent, and BlackBerry, with 5 percent growth,
held an 11 percent share.
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.