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IDC Quarterly Survey: Nokia Loses Place As Top 5 Smartphone Maker

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Nokia has fallen out of the top five smartphone makers in the world for the first time since in almost a decade.

The Finnish company, which once led the world in mobile phones, has struggled in recent years to catch up to Apple's market-defined iPhone and global leader Samsung.

While its Lumia range of Windows Phone devices have won plaudits for design, they have not sold in high enough numbers.

And now according to the IDC quarterly tracking survey, they're out of the top five altogether.

Previously they had appeared in the top five every year since the survey began in 2004.

Their place was taken by RIM, who make BlackBerry devices but who are also facing huge problems in launching their delayed next-generation operating system, BB10.

The figures show that Samsung led the smartphone market with 31.3% global share, followed by Apple (15%), RIM (4.3%), ZTE (4.2%) and HTC (4%).

Only Samsung, Apple and ZTE grew their market share last year, however, with RIM dropping from 9.6% a year ago to 4.3% in the third quarter of 2012.

Globally more than 179.7 million smartphones were shipped in the third quarter, compared to 123.7 million a year ago.

Nokia still made it to number two on the global mobile phone vendors list - which includes feature phones - with a 24.5% share.

But the relative failure to break through into the smartphone market is still a concern to analysts.

"Nokia's share losses have meant gains for competitors," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

"The company's transition away from Symbian-powered smartphones to ones shipped with Windows Phone has left ample opportunity for rivals to steal share away from Nokia over the past 18 months. However, the smartphone market is still relatively nascent, which means there's room for multiple vendors and operating systems to flourish, including Nokia."

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