Research firm IDC released a new report on the worldwide phone market for the third quarter 2011. The group states 393.7 million phones were shipped, a 12.8% year-on-year increase. This is much higher than 9.3% IDC originally predicted in its 2011 market estimations, confirming the explosive growth of the mobile sector.

However, not all things are great. While the emerging market superblock BRIC (Brasil, Russia, India, China) marked record growth, shipments in North American and Western Europe declined. The sales in well developed markets marked decline thanks to the shift of the market from conventional to smartphones, and the delays in production due to Japan’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami delayed the availability of high end components.

When we compare the vendors list, Nokia kept its #1 spot by capturing 27.1 percent of the market, shipping 106.6 million phones – a decline of 3.4% when compared to 3Q 2010. This is the second quarter in which Nokia lost market share, for the first time since the company begun shipping phones to market.

Second place belongs to Samsung Electronics, who captured 22.3% of the market by shipping 87.8 million phones, a 23% increase over the same period in 2010. LG Electronics grabbed third place with 21.

Third place is occupied by LG, who shipped 21.1 million phones (25.7% decline from 2010), taking just 5.4% of worldwide market. This is a sheer testament of just how powerful Nokia and Samsung are. The rising star is Chinese ZTE, which overtook Apple and captured the fourth place. In order to do that, and jump from 7th position into Top 4, ZTE shipped 19.1 million phones, up 57.9% from last year. There is no doubt in our mind that ZTE will enter the Top 3 within a quarter or two, even if LG marks record growth.

Apple dropped from fourth to fifth with already known figure of 17.1 million iPhones (21.3% YoY growth), but the company should fare better in the fourth quarter, with the new iPhone 4S reporting excellent sales results. Apple on its own occupies 4.3% of worldwide phone market.

The rest combined total is 142 million units, up 26.2%. What is important to notice is that there are several companies marking record growth quarter-on-quarter and could even threaten the big five: HTC and now Sony (Sony bought out Ericsson share in a 1.46 billion US dollar transaction) both reported record growth and their shipments are close or over 100% year-on-year (HTC reported 98% YoY growth) and Sony Ericsson reported over 100% YoY growth, with third quarter 2011 alone shipping more units than in the 340 days of 2010. As it stands right now, Sony could ship more (smart)phones in fourth quarter 2011 than it did in the whole 2010.