Apple overtook Samsung Electronics as the world's top smartphone maker in the fourth quarter of last year, with the South Korean company selling about half a million fewer smartphones than its rival, research firm Strategy Analytics said on Friday.
Global smartphone shipments grew 54 percent annually to reach a record 155 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, the research firm said. Apple reclaimed top position as the world's number one smartphone vendor during the quarter.
Apple sold 37 million iPhones and Samsung sold 36.5 million smartphone handsets, giving each a respective 23.9 percent and 23.5 percent market share.
Alex Spektor, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, said, "Global smartphone shipments grew 54 percent annually to reach a record 155.0 million units in Q4 2011. Apple overtook Samsung to become the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume with 24 percent market share. Apple's global smartphone shipments surged 128 percent annually to 37.0 million units, as distribution of the iPhone family expanded across numerous countries, dozens of operators and multiple price points."
Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, "While Apple took the top spot in smartphones on a quarterly basis, Samsung became the market leader in annual terms for the first time with 20 percent global share during 2011. With global smartphone shipments nearing half a billion units in 2011, Samsung is now well positioned alongside Apple in a two-horse race at the forefront of one of the world?s largest and most valuable consumer electronics markets."
Tom Kang, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, "Nokia's global smartphone market share halved from 33 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2011. A lackluster touchscreen smartphone portfolio and a limited presence in the huge United States market caused Nokia?s shrinkage last year. Nokia's partnership with Microsoft will be very much in focus during 2012, and the industry will be watching closely to see how swiftly the two companies can expand in the high-value 4G LTE market that is rapidly emerging across the United States, Japan and elsewhere."
Global Handset Shipments Reach 1.6 Billion Units in 2011
Global handset shipments grew 11 percent annually to reach 445 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011. Apple was the star performer, capturing a record 8 percent market share worldwide during the quarter. Full-year handset shipments reached 1.6 billion units globally in 2011, with annual growth of 14 percent.
Nokia's global handset shipments declined 8 percent annually to 113.5 million units in Q4 2011. Volumes were buoyed by the sales of Nokia?s low-end dual-SIM models in emerging markets like Southeast Asia, but were a little soft overall, as initial shipments of Microsoft Lumia phones could not offset declining Symbian sales. Hot on Nokia's heels, second-ranked Samsung captured 21 percent share with shipments of 95.0 million units. Samsung's 18 percent annual growth was fuelled by robust shipments of its broad Galaxy-branded 3G portfolio, headlined by the Galaxy S2 superphone.