The delayed iPhone launch gave Android vendors additional three months to gain market share whilst negatively affecting Apple, sending shares down ten percent over the past month. Worry not, though – strong iPhone 4S launch and price reductions for both the iPhone 4 and 3GS models are seen as catalyst enabling Apple to regain lost share from Android manufacturers during the current quarter.  Also, remember Apple is still taking more than half of all smartphone profits.

The gist of today’s report from Gartner pegged Apple’s share of the global smartphone market at 15 percent on sales of 17.29 million units, a 21 percent annual increase. But the smartphone market grew at an even faster clip so Apple actually recorded a decline from the 16.6 percent in Q3 2010 on sales of 13.48 million units. Android, meanwhile, has gone from 25.3 percent in Q3 2010 to 52.5 percent in Q3 2011, more than doubling its market share. Together, iOS and Android accounted for more than two-thirds of all smartphones sold (talk about duopoly).

Apple is also under pressure as quarterly iPhone sales decreased compared to the 20.34 million iPhones shipped during the June quarter. Principal research analyst Roberta Cozza said some consumers “were waiting for a rumored new iPhone and associated price cuts on older iPhone models; this affected U.S. sales particularly”.

Gartner believes Apple will bounce back in the fourth quarter because of its strongest ever preorders for the iPhone 4S in the first weekend after its announcement. Markets such as Brazil, Mexico, Russia and China are becoming more important to Apple, representing 16 percent of overall sales and showing that the iPhone has a place in emerging markets.

iPhone 4S launches in India, the world’s second-largest market, on November 25. Pre-orders sold out in Hong Kong in 10 minutes and the online Apple Store is now offering unlocked iPhone 4S units. The company pledged to roll out the handset to a hundred carriers in 70 countries by the year’s end, the fastest iPhone roll out yet. Supply chain sources claimed Apple cut holiday quarter iPhone 4S orders, but analysts rushed to dispute that report. How does Apple fare in the whole handset market? Read on…

Source: Gartner (November 2011)

According to Gartner data tracking per-vendor shipments worldwide, including both smartphones and feature phones, Nokia remains the world’s top handset maker. The embattled phone giant, however, continues on a downward spiral as its share declined from 28.2 percent to 23.9 percent between Q3 2010 and Q3 2011. Samsung upped its share from 17.2 percent to 17.8 percent and number three LG fell from 6.6 percent to 4.8 percent. Apple is the world’s fourth-largest handset vendor with a Gartner-estimated 3.9 percent share, a slight increase over the 3.2 percent share in Q3 2010. Gartner’s estimate contradicts the five percent global handset share Apple CEO Tim Cook recently mentioned.

“Despite all this success and momentum, the iPhone has five percent share of the worldwide market of handsets”, he said at the October 4 iPhone 4S unveiling, adding:

I could have shown a much larger number if I just showed smartphones, but that’s not how we look at it.

Instead, he explained, Apple expects all phones to eventually become smartphones, presenting the company with a huge opportunity to bank on the iPhone’s popularity and iconic status.

In another report from yesterday, Gartner noted that Apple grew its PC market share in Western Europe, growing sales amid the broader market slump. As Dell, Acer Group and Hewlett-Packard all saw their PC shipments in the region drop substantially, Apple sold 1.13 million Macintoshes during the third quarter for a 7.6 percent market share in Western Europe, up over a 5.7 percent share just a year ago. In the United Kingdom, only Apple’s and Samsung’s sales grew – and by 21.8 percent and 39.0 percent, respectively.

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Source: Gartner (November 2011)

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