One Billion smartphone sales per year by 2016

Sales of smartphones will exceed 420 million devices in 2011, accounting for nearly 28 percent of the entire global handset market. With the introduction of more affordable “entry-level” smartphones, IMS Research predicts that annual sales will surpass one billion devices by the end of 2016, accounting for one of every two mobile handsets sold.

Apple has made some of the largest gains in the space, accounting for 19% of global smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2011 compared to 16% in the same quarter last year. Of course Apple’s share continued to climb in the second quarter as well, as the company reported industry-leading sales of 20.4 million smartphones. The only company that made more impressive unit sales gains year-over-year in the first quarter was Samsung according to IMS; the South Korea-based vendor accounted for 13% of smartphones sold in the first quarter compared to just 3% in the same quarter in 2010. The biggest losers in the first quarter were Nokia, which slid from a 40% share in the first quarter last year to 24% in Q1 2010, and RIM, which dropped from 20% to 15% over the same period.

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