Apple: #1 Smartphone Brand in Second Quarter 2011

Strategy Analytics Senior Analyst, Alex Spektor:

Global smartphone shipments grew a healthy 76 percent annually to reach a record 110 million units in Q2 2011. We had previously reported on Apple becoming the largest smartphone vendor in terms of revenue and profits. Now, just four years after the release of the original iPhone, Apple has become the world’s largest smartphone vendor by volume with 18 percent market share. Apple’s growth remained strong as it expanded distribution worldwide, particularly in China and Asia.

Apple’s position at the top of the smartphone market might be short lived. Samsung grew its smartphone market share from 5.0% in Q2’10 to 17.5% in just one year.

One nagging thought: Apple reports sales as in sales to customers. So when Apple announced iPhone sales of 20.3 million for the second quarter, it meant 20.3 million iPhones got into the hands of customers.

When other brands report sales, what does it mean? Sales to customers or sales to the channel? My gut feeling is that it’s the later. And if that’s the case, Samsung stuffed the channel with 19 million smartphones in the second quarter. Big deal.

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