Nokia shipped the largest number of mobile phones for the year 2011
Vendors shipped 427.4m smartphones in 4Q11 compared to 402.8m in the fourth quarter of 2010, registering a year-over-year growth of 6.1%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) study Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker.
It exceeded IDC’s forecast of 4.4% for the quarter, but was less than the growth of 9.3% in third quarter of 2011.
Meanwhile, the sales of feature phone market declined faster than expected, touching its lowest point in over two years, according to the research firm.
IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker senior research analyst Kevin Restivo said the mobile phone market exhibited unusually low growth last quarter, which shows it is not immune to weaker macroeconomic conditions worldwide.
"The introduction of high-growth products such as the iPhone 4S, which shipped in the fourth quarter, bolstered smartphone growth. Yet overall market growth fell to its lowest point since 3Q09 when the global economic recession was in full bloom," added Restivo.
Meanwhile, smartphones maintained their growth in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) as the iPhone 4S sold well, particularly in Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, and Taiwan.
Though in Western Europe smartphone growth was considerable, the decline in feature phones overwhelmed the total phone market.
The Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMA) smartphone market witnessed double-digit growth owing to Samsung’s growth in the regions.
North America witnessed a buoyant smartphone market following the launch of the Apple iPhone 4S. Even LTE smartphones from HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung posted creditable growths.
Smartphones also stole the limelight in Latin America with the launch of multiple models across the region, particularly sub-$200 Android models.
Nokia took the top spot globally with the largest number of mobile phone shipments of 2011, followed by Samsung and Apple which took the second and third spots, respectively.