Record shipment quarter for Apple’s iPhone, more than 20m sold

Apple iPhone 4Apple made some impressive gains over the last year in the mobile phone market, according to data released on Thursday by market research and analysis firm IDC.

The Cupertino company saw sales of its iPhone grow by 141.8 percent in the space of a year (compare that with overall growth of the mobile phone market of 11.3 percent). And just in case that 141.8 percent elicited nothing more than a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders, the next best figures were turned in by ZTE, with 36 percent year-over-year growth.

However, Apple’s rise in shipment figures for the second quarter still left it in fourth place behind Nokia, Samsung and LG Electronics in terms of overall sales.

LG Electronics will likely be looking over its shoulder though. In the same quarter a year ago, the Korean company sold a shade over 30 million units, whereas Apple only managed 8.4 million. This year, the picture is very different – while LG shifted just under 25 million units, Apple wasn’t far behind with record sales of 20.3 million.

record shipment quarter for apples iphone more than 20m sold idc 2q 2011 data

Nokia was still way out in front with 88.5 million phones sold, though its market dropped 20.3 percent year-over-year. Samsung maintained second place with 70.2 million phones sold.

Apple will be more than happy with these figures, especially considering its smartphone, the iPhone 4, is more than a year old. If consumers clamor for the next-generation iPhone (and we all know how Apple fans like to have only the very latest version of their beloved smartphone), due out in the coming months, the company should easily move into third spot, above LG.

IDC pointed out another factor that will determine the level of the comapany’s success in the mobile phone market. Commenting in its press release, the research firm said: “Apple’s ability to bring its smartphone momentum to developing economies, where it’s less successful, will help dictate the company’s smartphone fortunes in future.”