Samsung reigns supreme over Apple


Smartphone sales up by nearly 50% in third quarter as Samsung extends lead 

Samsung has increased its lead over Apple in the third quarter, taking almost one third of the smartphone market and one fifth of the total smartphone market, a report from Gartner stated.

Samsungs mobile phones sales continued to accelerate in the quarter, hitting almost 98 million units in the third quarter of 2012, up 18.6% year on year. Samsung saw strong demand for Galaxy smartphones across different price points, and it further widened the gap with Apple in the smartphone market, selling 55 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2012. Samsung commanded 32.5% of the global smartphone market in the third quarter of 2012.

The smartphone market was dominated by Apple and Samsung, said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner: 'Both vendors together controlled 46.5% of smartphone market, leaving a handful of vendors fighting over a distant third spot.

Sales of smartphones have rocketed in the third quarter, up by a massive amount since the same period last year, said Gartner. Smartphones continued to fuel sales of mobile phones worldwide with sales rising to 169.2 million units in the third quarter of 2012.

Worldwide sales of mobile phones to end users reached almost 428 million units in the third quarter of 2012, a 3.1% decline from the third quarter of 2011. Smartphone sales accounted for 39.6% of total mobile phone sales, as smartphone sales increased 46.9% from the third quarter of 2011, Gartner said.

While the mobile phone market declined year on year, Gupta said there were positive signs for the industry during the third quarter.

'After two consecutive quarter of decline in mobile phone sales, demand has improved in both mature and emerging markets as sales increased sequentially,' said Gupta. 'In China, sales of mobile phones grew driven by sales of smartphones, while demand of feature phones remained weak. In mature markets, we finally saw replacement sales pick up with the launch of new devices in the quarter.'

Nokia slipped from number three in the second quarter of 2012 to number seven in smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2012. RIM moved to the number three spot with HTC not far behind, at number four.

'Both HTC and RIM have seen their sales declining in past few quarters, and the challenges might prevent them from holding on to their current rankings in coming quarters,' added Gupta.

Nokia's mobile phone sales declined 21.9% in the third quarter of 2012, but overall sales at 82.3 million were better than Gartners early estimate, largely driven by increased sales of the Asha full touch range. Nokia had a particularly bad quarter with smartphone sales, and it tumbled to the number seven worldwide position with 7.2 million smartphones sold in the third quarter. The arrival of the new Lumia devices on Windows 8 should help to halt the decline in share in the fourth quarter of 2012, although it won't be until 2013 to see a significant improvement in Nokia's position, claimed Gupta.

Apples sales to end users totalled 23.6 million units in the third quarter of 2012, up 36.2% year on year. 'We saw inventory built up into the channel as Apple prepared for the coming holiday season, global expansions and the launch into China in the fourth quarter of 2012,' said Gupta. With iPhone 5 launching in more territories in the fourth quarter of 2012, including China, and the upcoming holiday season Gartner analysts expect Apple will have its traditionally strongest quarter.

In the smartphone market, Android continued to increase its market share, up 19.9 percentage points in the third quarter of 2012. Although RIM lost market share, it climbed to the number three position as Symbian is nearing the end of its lifecycle.

While seasonality in the fourth quarter of 2012 will help end of year mobile phone sales to end users, Gartner analysts said that there will be a lower than usual boost from the holiday season. Consumers are either cautious with their spending or finding new gadgets like tablets, as more attractive presents.

There was also channel destocking in preparation of new device launches for RIM, which resulted into 8.9 million sales to end users in the third quarter of 2012. With the launch of iPhone 5, Gartner analysts expect iOS share will grow strongly in the fourth quarter of 2012 because users held on to their replacements in many markets ahead of the iPhone 5 wider roll out. Windows Phone's share weakened year on year as the Windows Phone 8 launch dampened demand of Windows Phone 7 devices.


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