Way back in 2006 the mobile phone industry looked very different – fast forward to today and new entrant Apple now accounts for 2.5 per cent of global handset sales with its iPhone – not bad for a product which only began to emerge internationally later in 2007.

Strategy Analytics reports Apple’s 7.4 million iPhones shipped internationally worldwide in Q3 2009 gives the Cupertino company a record 2.5 percent marketshare.

“Apple is expanding its distribution networks into all major
regions worldwide and this is driving its volume growth,” the analysts observed.

According to the analysts, this climb in share comes as global mobile handset shipments fell 4 percent year-over-year, to reach 291 million units in Q3 2009. The rate of decline was slower than the previous quarter, as the market edged toward recovery. “We forecast the handset industry to return to positive growth in the fourth quarter of 2009, signaling an end to the recession,” the analysts opined.

Neil Mawston, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, "We forecast 300 million handsets to be shipped worldwide in Q4 2009, growing 3% from 294 million units in Q4 2008. We believe this will be the first time the industry has returned to positive growth since Q3 2008, signaling an end to the handset recession after 4 quarters of decline. Consumers and handset vendors are gradually regaining a little confidence."

Apple’s good news follows a ChangeWave Research survey which said from June to September, Apple’s share of the US market jumped from 25 to 30 percent, while competitors RIM and Palm basically stayed unchanged.

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world in 2007, he mentioned that Apple had set a goal for itself to reach one percent of the mobile phone market share.

Apple met that goal in 2008, hitting 1.1 percent of the 1.21 billion mobile phone shipments, according to ABI Research.

Additional Strategy Analytics findings include:

Samsung shipped 60.2 million handsets worldwide and captured a record 21 percent marketshare in Q3 2009. Samsung now sits alongside Nokia and Motorola as the only three vendors to have passed the 20 percent threshold during the past decade;

LG Electronics shipped 31.6 million handsets worldwide during Q3 2009, for 11 percent marketshare. The South Korean vendors Samsung and LG captured almost one-third of the entire global handset market between them.

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