Apple continued to gain market share after more than doubling global shipments of its iPhone in the first quarter of 2011.
The latest figures by Strategy Analytics show Apple shipped a record 18.6 million handsets worldwide in the first quarter of 2011, up from 8.8 million units in the same period in 2010.
The company's increased market share to 5.3% is likely to fuel the platform's popularity among businesses for business-to-consumer (B2C) applications and mobile marketing. Debenhams has launched a second iPhone app, called Debenhams Beauty Club, after achieving over 400,000 downloads and sales of over £1m within five months of launching a Debenhams iPhone app.
Simon Forster, online trading director for Debenhams, said its latest app allows customers to shop with Debenhams whenever they want from wherever they are.
"Apple continues to benefit from strong operator subsidies and co-marketing, enabling its global handset share to reach a healthy 5% during the quarter," said Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics.
In a blog post, Thomas Husson, principal analyst at Forrester, says that more than 10 billion apps have been downloaded cumulatively since the launch of the Apple App Store, the majority of them via iPhones.
While Apple continues to gain in popularity, Nokia is attempting to keep its position as the biggest mobile phone maker. The latter maintained the largest percentage (31%) of market share, but growth has slowed.
"Nokia has registered below-industry-average volume growth for the past 11 quarters, highlighting just how long Nokia has been under pressure from high-end 3G smartphone suppliers, such as Apple, and low-end 2G cellphone players, such as ZTE," Mawston said.
He adds that "speed and timeliness" will be crucial for Nokia's first Windows Phone handset, in partnership with Microsoft.
The Strategy Analytics report shows global handset shipments grew 17% in the first quarter of 2011 to reach 350 million units, up from 298 million units in 2010. However, year-on-year growth fell over 2% after key component shortages affected shipments.