Research from Strategy Analytics showed that Samsung shipped 27.8 million smartphones in the three-month period, compared with 17.1 million from Apple and 16.8 million from Nokia.
The consultancy said Apple’s growth was hindered by customers waiting for the launch of the new iPhone 4S.
Apple’s number four slot in total handsets was taken by China’s ZTE.
Nokia was the top handset shipper with a 27.3% market share, followed by Samsung with 22.6% and LG with 5.4%.
ZTE took 4.7%, pushing Apple into fifth place with 4.4%.
The report came shortly after the release of Samsung’s third-quarter results, which showed profits falling 23% as strong growth in its mobile phone business was overshadowed by a poor performance in the memory chip arm.
Global smartphone shipments Q3 2011
|Company||Shipments (millions)||Market share|
|Source: Strategy Analytics|
Handset profits more than doubled to 2.52tn won ($2.3bn; £1.4bn) on strong sales from its Galaxy smartphones.