Apple shipped about 125,000 iPhones to Australia in the first two and a half months after the device went on sale on 11 July last year, analyst firm IDC said today.
"I wasn't expecting the number to be that high," IDC telecommunications market analyst Mark Novosel told ZDNet.com.au this week, noting he had thought it would be more in the realm of 50 to 100 thousand for the quarter to 30 September.
As for the reason, Novosel put it all down to hype. "Basically there was so much hype in the market. Australians had been waiting for one and a half years." The fact that Optus had such reasonably priced plans exacerbated the buying frenzy, Novosel said.
Novosel could not give comparative figures for other handsets, since his information was by manufacturer. Despite this, he said the iPhone was most likely the top seller.
Apple's shipped iPhone numbers accounted for 5.8 per cent of the Australian market in the period. Nokia's combined phones held the top place of the manufacturer's table at 48.1 per cent, followed by Samsung at 18.8 per cent and Sony Ericsson at 8.9 per cent, pushing out the formerly third-placed LG.
This put the number of handsets shipped for those manufacturers at around 1.03 million, 402,000 and 190,000 respectively. The total number of handsets shipped was 2.14 million.
This number is more than double the totals of RIM, HTC and Motorola, who are all established players in the converged device market.
IDC analyst Mark Novosel
"[The iPhone's market share was] not a huge number in its own right," Novosel said, "but considering it is the first quarter that Apple entered the market, it is a very strong start. This number is more than double the totals of RIM, HTC and Motorola, who are all established players in the converged device market."
Apple was not the only vendor achieving success. Year on year, Sony Ericsson has achieved a 110 per cent increase on shipped handsets and HTC a whopping 928 per cent increase.
Despite these wins, the overall mobile market saw contraction over the quarter: a reduction of 16.9 per cent from the previous quarter, which had seen 2.58 million devices enter the country.
The worst was likely yet to come, Novosel believed. "With some vendors already raising prices of consumer goods, the full effect of the slump in the Australian dollar, which fell as much as 39 per cent during the third quarter, will not be felt until late in the first quarter of 2009," he said.
IDC has predicted that shipments will fall 3.9 per cent this year due to the financial uncertainty and possibility of a local recession.
The growth in the number of people buying smartphones, which has recently sat at high levels, will be throttled down this year, Novosel said, although he expected people's obsession with touchscreen and data-centric devices to continue.