Strategy Analytics (SA), an industry research and consulting firm, released its latest findings concerning the sale of smartphones today. According to SA, 24 million units where shipped in China during the third quarter of 2011 which set a new record. This record also allowed China to overtake the United States, which shipped 23 million units, for the first time. This leap over the United States made China the world’s largest smartphone market by volume.
Today saw the announcement that China had done something amazing – not something that we didn’t all know was going to come at some point, but still amazing. China surpassed the United States in the number of smartphones shipped in the third quarter of 2011 for the first time ever.
An analyst at SA, Linda Sui, discussed SA’s overall findings, stating that “Smartphone shipments grew 58 percent sequentially to reach a record 23.9 million units inChinaduring Q32011. In contrast, smartphone shipments fell 7 percent sequentially to reach 23.3 million units in the United States. China has overtaken the United Statesfor the first time to become the world’s largest smartphone market by volume.”
Tom Kang, Director at SA, commented, “China’s rapid growth has been driven by an increasing availability of smartphones in retail channels, aggressive subsidizing by operators of high-end models like the Apple iPhone, and an emerging wave of low-cost Android models from local Chinese brands such as ZTE. Nokia currently leads China’s smartphone market with 28 percent share, while HTC heads the United States smartphone market with 24 percent share.”
Understand that the United States remains the world’s largest smartphone market in terms of revenue, but clearly this is an important figure for software developers. Granted, getting consumers to pay for software in China is still a hurdle, but the fact that more consumers own a platform that can handle application software than any where else in the world further increases the reasons for developers to try to figure out a way to compete in this market.
And the size of the gap is only going to increase from here on out.
Exhibit 1: China Smartphone Shipments by Vendor in Q3
|China Smartphone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)||Q3 ’11|
|China Smartphone Vendor Marketshare %||Q3 ’11|
|China Total Smartphone Growth Quarter-over-Quarter %||57.5%|
Exhibit 2: U.S. Smartphone Shipments by Vendor in Q3
|U.S. Smartphone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)||Q3 ’11|
|United States Smartphone Vendor Marketshare %||Q3 ’11|
|United States Total Smartphone Growth Quarter-over-Quarter %||-7.4%|