Total global mobile handset shipment reached 410 million units in Q3, 2012. In addition, the smartphone market is growing by 35 percent annually to reach 162 million units in third quarter of 2012. Alex Spektor, the associate director at Strategy Analytics termed the growth as relatively soft attributing it to volatile global economy, maturing penetration of smartphones among contract mobile subscribers and consumers holding off purchases in anticipation of multiple new models, like the iPad Mini, during the upcoming Q4 holiday season.
Handset vendors displayed varied performance with Samsung (News - Alert) clinching the top spot with 35 percent of the overall market and shipping 56.9 million units worldwide. This comes as a relief to Samsung who, despite losing some patent wars to Apple (News - Alert) which resulted to banning of sales of some Samsung phone brands in United States and some parts of Europe, lead the market ahead of Apple.
Apple, the Q2, 2011 market leader, slipped to the second position with 17 percent of the overall market. Apple shipped 26.9 million iPhone (News - Alert) units worldwide. This means that now Samsung and Apple control more than half of the smartphone market.
Apple iOS still remained the preferred smartphone platform with 56.7 percent of the smartphone OS market. Android (News - Alert) lags slightly behind with 41.3 percent, while Microsoft WP controls only 1.6 percent of the smartphone market. Neil Mawston, the executive director at Strategy Analytics, noted that no single Android vendor came close to Apple in volume terms, but the collective weight of dozens of hardware partners such as Asus, Samsung and Nook is helping Google’s Android platform to register a growing presence in tablets.
The growth of Samsung and Apple coupled with the prominence of Android and iOS platforms have impacted negatively on Nokia (News - Alert), which runs on the Symbian OS or the Microsoft’s WP platform. Nokia recorded a minimal 14 percent share in Q3 2012, shipped 16.8 million smartphones and for the first time in history, slipped out of the top three positions. The release of Windows 8 operating system will likely push the windows 8 phone and tablet volume sales up. If Nokia wants to regain its position among the top three smartphone brands, it will need to increase its windows phone volumes sharply.
Edited by Rich Steeves