Apple: From Zero to 17.1 Percent Smartphone Share in 2.5 Years
Lest there be any doubt that Apple’s iPhone is redefining the smartphone market, consider this: In less than two and a half years, the device has managed to claim nearly a fifth of the worldwide market for smartphones.
According to new data released this week by Gartner, Apple shipped some 7.04 million iPhones in the third quarter–up from just 4.72 million phones in the same period a year ago–for a 17.1 percent share of the market (see table below; click to enlarge).
That’s a 49.2 percent year-over-year increase in sales and it puts Apple (AAPL) in spitting distance of Research in Motion (RIMM), which also posted close to a 50 percent year-over-year gain to claim 21 percent of smartphone sales during the period.
With 39 percent of smartphone sales, Nokia (NOK) was the top seller during the period, and it’s clearly not ceding its spot any time soon. But RIM might, given the small gap between its market share and Apple’s.
In any case, RIM clearly has a fight on its hands as we head in the holidays, especially if Apple brings an 8GB iPhone 3GS to market in the next few weeks.
UPDATE: According to Apple’s last earnings announcement, the company said it shipped 7.4 million iPhones during the quarter. Why there’s a discrepancy between the company’s numbers and Gartner’s isn’t clear.