The bean counters at IDC have just released their Q3 2011 mobile industry figures, and they tell a tale that many of you who’ve been following IntoMobile with a close eye are already well familiar with. Beginning with the market as a whole, 393.7 million devices were sold between July and September, which is up 12.8% compared to the same quarter last year. The leader in terms of shipments is of course Nokia, with 27.1% market share thanks to the 106.6 million devices they sold, which is down 3.4% from last year’s sales figures. Right behind them is Samsung with 22.3% of the market, shipping 87.8 million handsets, 23% more than they did last year. Next up is LG, who sales collapsed 25.7% to just 21.1 million units, giving them 5.4% of the market. The new kid on the block, ZTE, shipped 19.1 million units, up 57.9% compared to last year, which translates to 4.9% of the market. And finally there’s Apple, who shipped 17.1 million iPhones, 21.3% more than last year, resulting in 4.3% of the total market.
Curiously, the “others” category, the guys who most people have never heard of, companies like Micromax in India or any of the countless no name vendors in China, made up 36.1% of the market by shipping 142 million devices. That’s up 26.2% compared to last year. Horace Dediu, an independent analyst who focuses on Apple, wrote an interesting article about this phenomenon dubbed: “A tale of two disruptions“. In it he notes how the PC industry used to be dominated by smaller players who made up 40% of the market. They’re the “others”. Today, due to razor thin margins, it’s the big boys who survive. “Others” has shrunk to 30% of the PC market. The reverse is happening in the mobile phone market. The “others” used to be around 15% of the market, while today it’s more than double!
The whole world is turning upside down folks and we wish we knew why. Are mobile phones becoming easier to make, thus explaining all these new entrants, and will they eventually become so easy to manufacture that consolidation will occur much like what’s going on in the PC space?