Mobile market: what has changed over the past 30 years?

The mobile market has changed a lot over the past 30 years: the fall of Motorola, the arrival of the iPhone and Asian competitors… Back to the past!

Relive the evolution of the mobile market since 1992

The Visual Capitalist media , known for staging data on the various market developments and trends, today offers a visual animation on the transformation of the mobile market for 30 years.

Lasting more than 2 minutes, the video invites you to discover the evolution of the market shares of each player, month by month, between December 1992 and December 2021. You will be able to relive the arrival of Sony on the market, the collapse of BlackBerry , or even the explosion of Apple in 2007.

30 years ago, a market with few players

In 1992, only two companies shared the mobile market:

  • Motorola, with 58% market share, thanks to its International 3200 model ,
  • Nokia, with 42% market share, which had created a partnership with Mobira to launch the first mobile phones.
From left to right: Mobira Talkman, Nokia 8810, Nokia 6110 and Mobira Cityman. © Nokia

With the rapid development of technologies, other players are joining the ranks. In 1994, Sony entered the mobile market, and was joined by Siemens a year later. From 1995, the market diversified, with a larger number of players. Motorola is experiencing a first weakening, going from 58% to 32% market share.

Sony buries the duopoly of Motorola and Nokia. © Virtual Capitalist

In addition, the two main players continue to compete for the first place. Nokia surpassed Motorola in 1999, reaching 21.4% of the world market (against 20.8% for Motorola). The reason ? More innovations from Nokia, which offers the first mobile with an integrated web browser.

The former leader will begin its vertiginous fall when the iPhone arrives on the market in 2007. An upheaval such that Motorola now represents only 2.2% of the world market.

The arrival of the iPhone: a new era for the mobile market

In 2007, Apple reversed the mobile market by launching its first smartphone: the iPhone 2G. Steve Jobs sells the iPhone as a 3-in-1 product: an iPod with a touch screen, a cell phone and a device that allows you to go on the Internet. Another novelty: the arrival of the App Store, a year later, which allows users to personalize their phone, for the first time in history.


Steve Jobs, presenting the iPhone 2G for the first time, January 9, 2007. © Apple


Success is not long in coming. 2 years after the launch of the iPhone, Apple holds 17.4% of the mobile market. And even today, the iPhone generates more than 50% of the Apple brand’s global turnover!

From 2010, companies that can no longer keep up with trends and technological advances can no longer compete. Thus, several major brands are gradually disappearing:

  • Motorola: which goes from 57% of the market in 1992 to 2.2% in 2021,
  • BlackBerry (RIM): which goes from 15.5% of the market in 2009, to its definitive end in 2021,
  • Palm: which went from 8.6% of the market in 2006, to its final shutdown in 2009,
  • Sony: which goes from 15% of the market in 1999, to 0.5% in 2021,
  • LG: which goes from 7.4% in 2009 to 1.5% in 2021.

Today, the mobile market seems more fractured, and new players have managed to take share. This is particularly the case for several Asian companies such as Samsung (27.8% of market share in 2021), Xiaomi (10.9%), or even Huawei (8.5%) and Oppo (5.4% ). Only Apple has managed to last since 2007: the company holds 27.3% market share in 2021.

Finally, the evolution of the mobile market over the past 30 years shows that the sector is extremely volatile. Who knows what the next 3 decades have in store for us? See you in 2052!

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SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

The blog of a computer enthusiast who shares news, tutorials, tips, online tools and software for Windows, macOS, Linux, Web designer and Video games.

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