Gartner’s Q3’11 Smartphone Report: Android Sells More Than Half of Global Market Share; Samsung Biggest OEM


Our friends at Gartner have just released their smartphone sales report for the third quarter of 2011. Android was an absolute stud this quarter, remaining the far and away leader gobbling up 52% of the global market share. Considering they held just 25% the same quarter a year ago, I’d say that’s pretty good upswing.

Strangely enough, Symbian was in second place with 16%, though their margin over iOS wasn’t all that staggering. Apple grabbed 15% there. While global numbers for Symbian have always been in its favor, it’s taking a sharp decline as more and more OEMs wane off of the operating system for others more “modern.”

RIM is still holding on with 11%, not a huge decline from the same quarter last year but it’s a decline nevertheless. And then way below all those guys are Samsung’s Bada with 2.2% and Microsoft with a lowly 1.5%. Microsoft would have you believe that they’re not doing too bad at all, but numbers don’t lie. I suppose this is why they’ve been putting a lot more emphasis on cashing in on Android as of late.

As for OEMs, Samsung was the top device maker with 24 million smartphones sold, a large margin over the iPhone. It’s important to note that iPhone 4S sales are not being included here as it launched in Q4. We expect Apple to dominate the charts when Q4 figures are all wrapped up.

With predictions seeing Android taking up more than half of all smartphone market share (period, not sales by quarter) by 2013, it looks like it is headed in the right direction. Read on for other highlights.

Gartner Says Sales of Mobile Devices Grew 5.6 Percent in Third Quarter of 2011; Smartphone Sales Increased 42 Percent

– Android OS Rose to Account for More Than 50 Percent of Smartphone Sales
Egham, UK, November 15, 2011-

Worldwide sales of mobile devices totaled 440.5 million units in the third quarter of 2011, up 5.6 percent from the same period last year, according to Gartner, Inc. Non-smartphone devices performed well, driven by demand in emerging markets for low-cost devices from white-box manufacturers, and for dual-subscriber identity module (SIM) devices.

Sales into the channel reached 460 million units. Gartner analysts said this increase was because of inventory build-up in the channel partly because of the shipping of new devices late in the quarter but mostly to prepare the channel for the holiday season. Gartner expects most of the build-up to be sold by the first quarter of 2012.

“Our forecast for the end of the year remains broadly in line at a worldwide level as regions such as Asia/Pacific and the Middle East and Africa make up for weaker performance in the Western European market,” said Annette Zimmermann, principal analyst at Gartner based in Munich.

Smartphone sales to end users reached 115 million units in the third quarter of 2011, up 42 percent from the third quarter of 2010. Sequentially, smartphone sales slowed to 7 percent growth from the second quarter of 2011 to the third quarter of 2011. Smartphone sales accounted for 26 percent of all mobile phone sales, growing only marginally from 25 percent in the previous quarter.

“Strong smartphone growth in China and Russia helped increase overall volumes in the quarter, but demand for smartphones stalled in advanced markets such as Western Europe and the U.S. as many users waited for new flagship devices featuring new versions of the key operating systems,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Slowdowns also occurred in Latin America and the Middle East and Africa.”

“Some consumers held off upgrading in the third quarter because they were waiting for promotions on other new high-end models that were launched in the run-up to the fourth quarter holiday season,” Ms. Cozza said. “Other consumers were waiting for a rumored new iPhone and associated price cuts on older iPhone models; this affected U.S. sales particularly.”

Despite a drop in market share, Nokia continued to be the worldwide leader in mobile device sales as it accounted for 23.9 percent of global sales (see Table 1). The second quarter of 2011 was the low point for Nokia, and the third quarter brought signs of improvement. Dual-SIM phones in particular, and feature phones generally, maintained Nokia’s momentum in emerging markets. Heavy marketing from both Nokia and Microsoft to push the new Lumia devices should bring more improvement in the fourth quarter of 2011. However, a true turnaround won’t take place until the second half of 2012.

Samsung became the No. 1 smartphone manufacturer worldwide as sales to end users tripled year over year to reach 24 million; sell in was high as the channel built inventory. Samsung was the No. 1 smartphone manufacturer for the first time, ahead of Nokia in Western Europe and Asia. Gartner attributes this to the strong performance of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, which now cover a broad range of prices, and a weaker competitive market. Analysts expect more competition in the fourth quarter of 2011, not least because sales of the iPhone 4S, 4 and 3GS will capture share from Android manufacturers.

Apple shipped 17 million iPhones, an annual increase of 21 percent, but down nearly 3 million units from the second quarter of 2011 because of Apple’s new device announcement in October. Gartner believes Apple will bounce back in the fourth quarter because of its strongest ever preorders for the iPhone 4S in the first weekend after its announcement. Markets such as Brazil, Mexico, Russia and China are becoming more important to Apple, representing 16 percent of overall sales and showing that the iPhone has a place in emerging markets, especially now that the 3GS and 4 have received price cuts.

The Android OS accounted for 52.5 percent of smartphone sales to end users in the third quarter of 2011 (see Table 2), more than doubling its market share from the third quarter of 2010.

“Android benefited from more mass-market offerings, a weaker competitive environment and the lack of exciting new products on alternative operating systems such as Windows Phone 7 and RIM,” Ms. Cozza said. “Apple’s iOS market share suffered from delayed purchases as consumers waited for the new iPhone. Continued pressure is impacting RIM’s performance, and its smartphone share reached its lowest point so far in the U.S. market, where it dropped to 10 percent.”

Source: Gartner (November 2011)

More information is available in the Gartner report “Market Share: Mobile Communication Devices by Region and Country, 3Q11,” which is available on Gartner’s website at

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Charts please!

  2. yet and still…it seems most tech blogs dont seem to take android seriously. always stating that the iphone is THE phone. its kind of like they are blind or something!

    even android centric podcast i listen to, always seem to treat android like its number two even though its been number one for a WHILE!

    1. Android is the Snapple of the mobile world!

    2. True. Lots of deluded bloggers out there. Even some phandroid bloggers cannot but fawn to Apple. The numbers keep telling a dff story though.

      1. Exactly….numbers dont lie.

        And for the iFans or pro Apple folks that read this and wanna say well duh its a million Android phones out….

        Many phones didnt help the old Win Mo…so PLEASE stop with the many phones argument….its a good product on many phones…thats why ppl keep buying Android.

        BOGO and other deals have been around before Android came out, so save that argument too.

  3. Cue the iTrolls.

  4. “Microsoft with a lowly 1.5%. Microsoft would have you believe that they’re not doing too bad at all, but numbers don’t lie.”

    BAHAHAhahahahahahaha.  Take that Balmer.  That is what happens when you keep making crap.

  5. iTrolls will strike back by saying Apple leads in profits. 

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