Apple and Samsung are both enjoying a significant rise in global mobile market share, according to new data from research firm IDC. At the same time, Nokia finds its user base and unit shipments eroding steadily, in yet another sign of trouble for the besieged Finnish phone maker.
IDC’s numbers reconfirm that something of a massive paradigm shift is underway in the mobile industry. Samsung saw its unit shipments increase 10 percent from the year-ago quarter, while Apple’s rose 141.8 percent. At the same time, Nokia experienced a 20.3 percent dip, a fall nearly matched by LG Electronics’ 18.9 percent falloff.
Nokia’s numbers are being affected by a softening in the market for feature phones. “The shrinking feature phone market is having the greatest impact on some of the world’s largest suppliers of mobile phones,” Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst for IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, wrote in a statement included with the firm’s July 28 report. “Stalwarts such as Nokia are losing share in the feature phone category to low-cost suppliers such as Micromax, TCL-Alcatel and Huawei.”
Meanwhile, the IDC report discloses something that’s a secret to absolutely nobody: Apple’s successful run in the mobile space shows precious few signs of abating anytime soon. “The company easily posted the highest growth rate of the worldwide leaders despite the fact that its flagship iPhone 4 is now more than a year old,” read one section of the IDC’s report. “Apple’s ability to bring its smartphone momentum to developing economies, where it’s less successful, will help dictate the company’s smartphone fortunes in the future.”
During Apple’s July 19 earnings call, COO Tim Cook suggested that the iPhone’s strong quarterly sales were due to expansion in regions such as China, Latin America and the Middle East, which he defined as “markets that Apple has not traditionally been as strong in.” The company sold more than 20.3 million iPhones during the quarter, a year-over-year increase of 142 percent.
ABI Research also issued a July 29 research note indicating Apple and Samsung are on the rise, and Nokia in retreat. “Although Apple’s 142 percent YoY [year-over-year] growth placed it as No. 1 this quarter,” ABI analyst Michael Morgan wrote in an accompanying statement, “Samsung’s 500 percent YoY growth shows that going forward, the top smartphone OEM position is Samsung’s to lose.”
Apple is currently pursuing a lawsuit that accused Samsung of copying its products, an intellectual-property battle made more complicated by Samsung’s position as one of Apple’s electronics suppliers. For its part, Nokia hopes that wholesale adoption of Windows Phone as its upcoming software platform-replacing its homegrown Symbian OS-will reverse its market share declines.