Samsung ousts Nokia, Apple; is now #1 vendor

By : |May 16, 2012 0

[image_library_tag 494/12494, align=”left” title=”” height=”411″ alt=”” hspace=”7″ width=”400″ vspace=”7″ border=”1″ ,default]MUMBAI, INDIA: Samsung became the world’s top mobile handset vendor during the quarter, displacing Nokia which had held the No. 1 spot since 1998. Samsung’s mobile phone sales reached 86.6 million units, a 25.9 per cent increase from last year, finds Gartner.

Samsung took back the world’s No. 1 smartphone position from Apple, selling 38 million smartphones worldwide. In addition, Samsung’s Android-based smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2012 represented more than 40 per cent of Android-based smartphone sales worldwide; no other vendors achieved more than a 10 per cent share of the market.

Sales of smartphones continued to drive mobile device market growth, reaching 144.4 million units in the first quarter of 2012, up 44.7 per cent year-over-year. This quarter also saw the top two smartphone vendors, Apple and Samsung, raising their combined share to 49.3 per cent, up from 29.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2011, and widening their lead over Nokia — which saw its smartphone market share drop to 9.2 per cent.

Nokia’s mobile handset sales reached 83.2 million units, a 22.7 per cent decrease from the first quarter of 2011. “Smartphone sales are becoming of paramount importance at a worldwide level. For example, smartphone volumes contributed to approximately 43.9 per cent of overall sales for Samsung as opposed to 16 per cent for Nokia,” Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst, Gartner, said.

Driven by the continued success of the iPhone 4S, Apple’s sales grew 96.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 as the new model expanded into new markets and carriers. Sales in China were particularly strong this quarter. With more than 5 million units, China became the second-largest market for Apple after the US. On top of the sales through official carriers’ channels, there was an increase in transshipments from Hong Kong where volume has been growing over the past few quarters to reach a sell-in of more than 3 million units. [image_library_tag 495/12495, align=”right” title=”” height=”330″ alt=”” hspace=”7″ width=”400″ vspace=”7″ border=”1″ ,default]

RIM sold 9.9 million mobile handsets in the first quarter of 2012, with its global share declining to 2.4 per cent as competition increased in its international market strongholds. “RIM desperately needs to deliver winning BB10 products to retain users and stay competitive. This will be very challenging, because BB10 lacks strong developer support, and a new BB10 device will only be available in the fourth quarter of 2012,” added said Gupta.

In the smartphone OS market, Android accounted for more than half of all smartphone sales (56.1 per cent) in the first quarter of 2012. Gartner analysts said the smartphone market has become highly commoditized and differentiation is becoming a challenge for manufacturers.

“This is particularly true for smartphones based on the Android OS, where a strong commoditization trend is at work and most players are finding it hard to break the mould,” Gupta said. “At the high end, hardware features coupled with applications and services are helping differentiation, however, this is restricted to major players with intellectual property assets."

"However, in the mid to low-end segment, price is increasingly becoming the sole differentiator. This will only worsen with the entry of new players and the dominance of Chinese manufacturers, leading to increased competition, low profitability and scattered market share,” he added.

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