Samsung Rides Android Past Nokia to Take Sales Lead
A 2 percent decline in mobile phone shipments during the first quarter of 2012 may have hurt some handset vendors, but it did little to slow Samsung, which was the world’s largest mobile handset vendor for the first three months of the year.
According to the latest metrics from Gartner — which measure sales of handsets to customers, not shipments into the channel — Samsung sold 86.6 million mobile phones in the first quarter, 25.9 percent more than it sold during the same period a year ago. That was enough to give it a 20.7 percent share of the market, and to seize the title of “world’s largest mobile handset vendor” from Nokia, which sold 83.2 million cellphones during the quarter, as its market share slipped to 19.8 percent from 25.1 percent a year ago.
Unfortunate news for Nokia, which had been the market’s leader since 1998, but inevitable given the company’s recent decline and, perhaps, its choice of Windows Phone as an OS for its newest handsets.
Because what’s driving Samsung’s growth is Android. According to Gartner’s sales data, Samsung was by far the largest Android smartphone vendor, claiming nearly 44 percent of Android-based smartphone sales. Interestingly, no other Android phone manufacturer captured more than 10 percent of the market.
So, if Samsung commandeered the handset market’s top spot in the first quarter, and Nokia its second, who claimed third? Apple, which sold enough iPhones to capture 7.9 percent of the total mobile phone market.
As for mobile OS market share, Android continues to rule the market — 56 percent of smartphones sold to end users globally in the first quarter of 2012 run the OS, far more than the 22.9 percent running Apple’s iOS.