Samsung breaks Nokia's 13-year grip on mobile crown

Samsung: Galaxy Note TV campaign
Samsung: Galaxy Note TV campaign

Samsung will displace Nokia as the top mobile manufacturer across 2012 as the latter loses its grip on the top spot for the first time since 1998, according to figures from IHS.

Nokia is expected to see its share of all mobile shipments drop to 24% in 2012, which will result in Samsung leapfrogging into first place as its shipments surge to 29% of the market.

Samsung’s rapid growth in market share coincides with an aggressive marketing drive from the South Korean tech firm, which reported it increased spend 43% year-on-year from £1.22bn to £1.75bn for the three months ending 30 June 2012.

Last year Nokia topped the table with a 30% market share, while Samsung came in second with a 24% share of the market.

Nokia’s plunging share and Samsung’s trailblazing performance is a result of the boom in smartphone ownership and the different companies' varying fortunes in the smartphone market.

Nokia hopes to turnaround its decline in market share with the launch of its flagship Lumia 900 device after initially being slow to adapt to the smartphone revolution. 

Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at HIS, said: "The competitive reality of the market in 2012 was 'live by the smartphone; die by the smartphone.'

"Smartphones represent the fastest-growing segment of the market and will account for nearly half of all wireless handset shipments for all of 2012."

Preliminary forecast of top five cellphone handset OEMs in 2012 (ranking by global unit shipments)
Rank Company 2011 2012
1 Samsung 24% 29%
2 Nokia 30% 24%
3 Apple 7% 10%
4 ZTE 6% 6%
5 LG 6% 4%

Source: IHS iSuppli Research, December 2012


Global smartphone shipments are estimated to rise by 35.5% year on year this year, contributing to a 1% year on year increase in overall mobile shipments.

The growth will mean smartphone penetration will stand at 47% of all mobile shipments for 2012, up from 35% in 2011.

Samsung is predicted to be the top smartphone maker in 2012 with its share of shipments rising 8 percentage points to 28%, up from 20% in 2011.

The massive surge in market share has resulted in Samsung extending its lead against arch-rival Apple to eight percentage points after Apple was only able to add one percentage point to its market share year-on-year.

Nokia will suffer the biggest decrease of the major manufacturers with its share forecast to plunge by 11 percentage points to 5% in 2012.

HTC has lost out to Samsung’s dominance of the Android smartphone market with its share dropping four percentage points to 5%.

Meanwhile, Research in Motion (RIM) has been hit by the much delayed launch of its new BlackBerry operating system, leading to its share falling to 5% from 11% in 2011.

Preliminary forecast of top five smartphone handset OEMs in 2012 (ranking by global unit shipments)
Rank Company 2011 2012
1 Samsung 20% 28%
2 Apple 19% 20%
3 Nokia 16% 5%
4 HTC 9% 5%
5 RIM 11% 5%

Source: IHS iSuppli Research, December 2012

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