Samsung's smartphone shipments soared over the same period last to easily grab the lion's share of the global market, a market researcher said Thursday. While another market researcher put Samsung No.1 in the overall cell phone market.
The South Korean electronics giant's share went from 12.2 percent in the first quarter of 2011 to a whopping 30.6 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to Strategy Analytics (see chart below).
Apple's growth isn't too shabby either: it jumped from an 18.1 percent share last year (which at that time was larger than Samsung's) to 24.1 percent.
The Korean company shipped 93.5 million handsets in the first quarter, up from 69 million units a year earlier, for a 25 percent share of the market, even as global handset shipments grew a little over 3 percent annually to reach 368 million units in the quarter, Strategy Analytics said.
In contrast, Nokia's handset shipments were down 24 percent year-on-year to 82.7 million units, giving it a 22.5 percent share. Shipments of its low-end feature phone stalled in emerging markets while its high-end Lumia smartphones, based on Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system, were unable to make up for a decline in Nokia's legacy Symbian business, according to Strategy Analytics.
In the first quarter of last year, Nokia had a 30.4 percent share to Samsung's 19.3 percent share, indicating a significant shift in the handset market, as Nokia tries to manage a difficult transition amidst stiff competition from Samsung and Apple, and a number of vendors of low-cost devices.
Samsung's success reflects a shift in the wireless market, where cellphone market growth is being generated exclusively by the smartphone segment, and not by feature phones and other low-cost entry phones, iSuppli said. Smartphones accounted for 34 percent of Samsung's handset shipments in the first quarter, in contrast to 14 percent of Nokia's shipments, the research firm said.
Apple's iPhone shipments almost doubled to 35 million units in the quarter, increasing its share to 9.5 percent from 5.2 percent a year earlier, according to Strategy Analytics. But Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S3 flagship model could slow iPhone's growth in some regions if it is well received by operators and consumers, it said.
Samsung shipped 92 million handsets to 83 million by Nokia, and 35 million by Apple in the first quarter, according to iSuppli. It said its tally of global shipments of handsets included only those vendors that have reported results for the first quarter so far. The research firm put Samsung's shipments of smartphones in the first quarter at 32 million, putting it in second place to Apple.
Strategy Analytics, in contrast, said Samsung shipped 44.5 million smartphones in the first quarter for a 30.6 percent share, while Apple shipped 35 million units for a 24.1 percent share. Nokia had a 8.2 percent share.