Global smartphone sales grew by 42.6 per cent in the third quarter as emerging markets continued to expand, while sales in developed nations slowed down, according to the latest quarterly mobile tracker report from IDC.
Samsung claimed the top spot in the quarter, shipping 23.6 million units and surpassing Apple with a market share of 20 per cent. The quarter was the first in which Samsung passed the 20 million smartphone sales barrier.
Apple, meanwhile, sold 17.1 million units in the quarter, a figure IDC expects to climb significantly as strong sales of the iPhone 4S continue.
Nokia claimed third place with 16.8 million units and a 14.2 per cent market share. The figures were down from the same quarter in 2010 when Nokia had a 32 per cent market share on the strength of 26.5 million units sold.
Nokia has seen its share in the smartphone market fall dramatically over recent months, but IDC said that the company is far from out of the race.
"It's easy to point out Nokia's shortcomings and pratfalls in recent quarters, but it has a couple of key assets in its corner: brand, which is still among one of the most popular and strongest ones out there; and distribution, which is the envy of many other mobile phone vendors," IDC senior research analyst Ramon Llamas told V3.
"Plus, Nokia's presence in key emerging markets puts it as the clear leader in those markets."
HTC claimed the fourth spot with 12.7 million units sold, followed by RIM, which moved 11.8 million BlackBerry handsets in the quarter.
Growth in emerging markets is playing a key role in determining the top smartphone vendors. IDC expects smartphone sales to climb to more than one billion by 2015, opening the door for established and emerging handset vendors to claim a share.
"Some will have more of an advantage than others, and some will be at a disadvantage as well," said Llamas. "Still, that the market is headed for certain growth does point to opportunity for nearly all vendors."
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