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25 January 2013

Smartphone pressure mounts for Samsung and Apple exiting strong Q4

Nearly 196 million smartphones and 451 million handsets were shipped during fourth-quarter 2012, according to the latest estimates from marketing anakyst firm ABI Research. This brings 2012 annual totals to 653 million smartphone and 1.6 billion handset shipments, up 36% and 2% year-on-year, respectively. Smartphones accounted for 43% of all handset shipments in Q4, which pushed smartphones to 41% of all shipments in 2012.

Samsung retained its lead position overall by shipping 106 million handsets, of which 60 million were smartphones in Q4 and capturing 31% of total smartphone shipments. In 2012 Samsung grew its handset shipments by 21.6% and its smartphone shipments by 123.8%. Despite missing most analyst estimates in Q4, Apple grew its smartphone shipment market share to 24.5%, up from 16.4% in Q3. Apple shipped 47.8 million iPhones in Q4, bringing its full-year 2012 total to 135.8 million. Apple’s 2012 annual shipment growth declined from 96% in 2011 to 46% in 2012.

“It is clear that the iPhone’s hyper-growth has ended, and ABI Research believes that Apple’s market share will peak in 2013 at 22%,” says mobile devices senior analyst Michael Morgan. “Unless Apple is willing to trade iPhone margins for low-cost iPhone shipments, Apple’s handset market share will become dependent on customer loyalty,” he adds.  

Nokia shipped 86.3 million handsets and 6.6 million smartphones in Q4, while Research In Motion’s shipments of smartphones fell to 6.9 million. ZTE had an excellent Q4, with 20.7 million handset shipments and 11.2 million smartphone shipments.  

“Samsung and Apple are both under pressure to maintain their market lead as less costly smartphones gain momentum entering 2013,” notes senior practice director Jeff Orr. “Technology optimization choices and a diverse handset portfolio are critical decisions over the next 6-9 months to come out ahead.” 

Tags: ABI


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