IDC Statistics for Q4 2010 shows smartphones sold more than PC’s

The latest smartphone statistics report from IDC shows some interesting albeit not surprising figures. For the first time ever it seems smartphone sales trumped PC sales! Everyone has been saying we will see this happen sooner or later, and the statistics now shows us it turned out to be sooner.

Android shows it’s impact on the smartphone statistics

Picture of the Samsung Galaxy SAccording to IDC a staggering 100.9 million smartphones shipped during Q4 2010, shipped PC’s is estimated to about 92.1 million units.

The PC sales are in fact doing pretty well and are increasing, but more and more tablets are selling and since these are a different category and not accounted for in PC sales – it’s of course making an impact on the sales figures for PC’s in the statistics.

Looking at the figures in IDC’s statistics, it’s easy to see the impact Android is having on the smartphone ecosystem. With device manufacturers able to not only produce high end devices, but also fairly cheap Android devices that can appeal to a larger part of the market.

Apple and their iPhone are still doing good and increasing their year to year growth by about 86%, but from Q42009 to Q42010 they are just keeping their 16% market share. Reason is most likely that they are still stuck in the high end smartphone segment, making overall sales impact lower. More and more business customers are adopting the iPhone, mostly the US based companies, and this is helping Apple drive iPhone sales. But compared to the strides made by Android they are left in the dust.

Nokia is not doing all that well with their devices as they are increasing by about 36% from Q42009 to Q42010 but loosing some 10.5% market share. And that is a pretty low number considering the entire smartphone market increased by about 87%. Nokia is the biggest looser this year looking at the smartphone statistics.

Research In Motion is doing even worse, increasing overall shipped units in year-to-year growth with 36.5%, but loosing 5.5% market share from Q42009 to Q42010.

Statistics for the individual brands

The big winners looking at the device manufacturers are those carrying Android. And then especially Samsung and HTC.

Samsung increased in year-to-year growth with a staggering 440%. Driven by the great sales for their Galaxy series and popularity rise outside of Asia. Looking at the Q42009 to Q42010 growth they managed to increase shipped units from 3.3% to 9.6%. Taking in to consideration how low their total market share was in Q42009 it’s also easy to see they were the ones that had it easiest to increase numbers.

HTC increased year-to-year with 147.5%, also a great figure. Increasing shipped units from 4.5% of total in Q42009 to 8.5% in Q42010.

Top Five Smartphone Vendors, Shipments and Market Share in Q4 2010 (Units in Millions)

Vendor Q4 2010 Units Shipped Q4 2010 Market Share Q4 2009 Units Shipped Q4 2009 Market Share Year-over-year growth
Nokia 28.3 28.0% 20.8 38.6% 36.1%
Apple 16.2 16.1% 8.7 16.1% 86.2%
In Motion
14.6 14.5% 10.7 19.9% 36.4%
Samsung 9.7 9.6% 1.8 3.3% 438.9%
HTC 8.6 8.5% 2.4 4.5% 258.3%
Others 23.5 23.3% 9.5 17.6% 147.4%
Total 100.9 100.0% 53.9 100.0% 87.2%

My thoughts about the figures

An apple with bitemarksLooking at Apple’s figures I actually had expected them to gain a slight bit from 2009 to 2010 as the iPhone 4 has had great reception(pun intended). They had a lot of initial issues with the reception problems and dropped calls happening all over the place when the users were in areas with low reception. But it was expected to see some debacle, Apple is the new Microsoft now in a way I feel, the world loves to find flaws – especially if you are considered to be the market leader.

Question is why Apple didn’t increase their market share. Did the reception debacle actually turn people of the iPhone 4 to that degree. Or is people starting to grow bored of the Apple hype? Was the iPhone4 priced too high? I suspect that if they don’t get their game on in a big way with an iPhone 5 this year, they will see a drop of total market share next year.

I’m not really surprised to see how much the Android segment is taking away from the former market leaders, given the availability across all market segments increasing for the Android units it comes as no larger surprise.

I am however taken back by the show of strength from Samsung! Don’t get me wrong though, Samsung has produced some real quality smartphones this year. But compared to HTC I’d deem the Galaxy S being about the same class as the HTC Desire. But I felt Samsung was a bit late into the game compared to HTC trailing path with their Desire. The Desire Z and Desire HD has been released now, it will be fun to see if those models will help shift the statistics to HTC’s favor when the comparison of Q12010 and Q12011 is revealed. Or will perhaps the pending Samsung Nexus S shift this upcoming quarter even more to Samsung’s favor

No real mention in the report from IDC about the Windows Phone 7 and it’s impact, but I look forward to seeing if Microsoft is able to make a dent in the total statistics here for the next quarterly report. With the cooperation between the Nokia and the Microsoft team in 2011, will Nokia be able to retake some of the lost market? And will this cooperation boost Windows Phone 7 sales as predicted?

Link to IDC’s press release.

IDC release Q4 smartphone statistics
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12 thoughts on “IDC release Q4 smartphone statistics

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  • April 7, 2011 at 19:14

    I don’t think Windows Phone 7 will even dent the Q1 figures.
    With the latest update debacles even the fanboys are starting to whine. If Microsoft isn’t able to keep the fans around even, then it’s hardly going to break into mainstream in a big way.

    Looks like all might as well just surrender to the droid army.

    • May 13, 2011 at 08:39

      From the latest statistics it seems Windows Phone is picking up slightly. But there isn’t any dramatic increase to see yet.

      Hopefully things will pick up a bit when mango is released later this year as I suspect we will see new devices released then as well.

  • April 8, 2011 at 22:58

    The iPhone 5 is going to kill the statistics when it get’s released later this year 🙂
    Windows Phone will be left in the dust, and Android will be overtaken!

    • April 14, 2011 at 00:29

      Don’t think there’s going to be a new iPhone released during 2011. If it shows up it will by default be a contender because of the Apple cult, no matter how good or bad it is 🙂

      I do however believe in Windows Phone in the long run, and it seems I’m not alone looking at IDC’s and Gartner’s latest long term stabs at statistics for 2015.

  • April 26, 2011 at 01:46

    Just wanted to say thanks for an informative article.


    • May 16, 2011 at 05:26

      Thank IDC 😉

  • October 27, 2011 at 16:08

    I can’t see how MS can gain any share in the smartphone market at all.
    As a developer with access to RiM, Android and iPhone I wanted a WinMo to give me a complete set for development and testing.
    2 days walking around Cardiff, not one WinMo to be found on sale.

    • October 28, 2011 at 13:36

      I agree totally!

      The first release day here in Sweden I had to actually inform the personnel in the store I went to that they were supposed to start selling Windows Phones that day (wrote a piece about it on the blog long time ago). Very bad start for Microsoft in my opinion.

      I have hopes things will improve now with the new Mango phones that are incoming, and eventually I hope we’ll see more devices available when Nokia ramps up delivery.


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