Research firm IDC today released results for global mobile phone sales for the first quarter of 2011, showing Apple hitting a 5% share of the overall market for the first time. The data also shows Apple regaining the fourth-place position it lost to ZTE last quarter.
Apple maintained its number 4 spot on IDC's Top 5 list thanks to a record quarter for unit shipments. The company posted the highest growth rate of the worldwide leaders. Apple's results were buoyed by strong sales on Verizon Wireless and additional carrier deals; the company is now on 186 carriers operating in 90 countries. The iPhone once again sold particularly well in developed economic regions of the world, such as North America and Western Europe.
Apple's 114.9% year-over-growth easily led the major mobile phone manufacturers and enabled the company to grow its share of the market from 2.8% to 5.0%.
Apple's initial goal when it launched the iPhone in 2007 was to capture 1% of the global mobile phone market, a figure met with some skepticism by the company's competitors. Apple of course quickly reached that goal and has continued to post strong unit sales growth as consumers have increasingly turned to smartphones for their mobile device needs.
In support of IDC's numbers, Strategy Analytics released a similar report today showing Apple with 5.3% of the overall worldwide mobile phone market for the quarter. The primary difference between the two reports comes from IDC counting approximately 20 million more handsets in the "Others" category than Strategy Analytics.
A report released just yesterday by NPD showed Apple taking 14% of the total mobile market in the United States, but the company of course holds a lower share of the worldwide market due in part to the premium pricing its devices carry in many countries where consumers are more likely to purchase low-end phones on prepaid plans.