Worldwide Smartphone Sales in Q3’11

Gartner, by smartphone OS:

  1. Android: 60.5M, 52.5%
  2. Symbian: 19.5M, 16.9%
  3. iOS: 17.3M, 15.0%
  4. Research In Motion: 12.7M, 11.0%
  5. Bada: 2.5M, 2.2%
  6. Microsoft: 1.7M, 1.5%
  7. Others: 1.0M, 0.9%

Gartner describes these numbers as “sales to end users” but I have serious doubt that Gartner would have this information. Aside from Apple there is no other company that reports sales to end users as far as I know. ‘Sales’ reported by other companies are usually shipments into the channel: distributors, retailers, etc.

Even NPD, who is the largest point of sale market research company in the U.S., does not cover the entire retail channel missing companies such as CostCo, Walmart, and Sam’s Club. These companies don’t share their sales data to anyone. So how does Gartner get their data?

Companies like Samsung share their ‘shipment’ data, as in sales into the sales channel. Best Buy shares its retail sales information, for a hefty price. Gartner probably combines the two, extrapolates, and makes an educated guess on the overall U.S. sales to end users. And that in turn is just a guess on my part. So take these numbers with a grain of salt and remember Mark Twain’s admonition:

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.