Samsung Overtakes Nokia as Top Cell Phone Maker

The Korean firm also leads in the smartphone segment, beating out Apple.
Posted December 19, 2012

Cynthia Harvey

A new report from researchers at IHS predicts that Samsung will be 2012's top cell phone maker, overtaking previous leader Nokia. The Korean company also continues to dominate in the smartphone market.

The Wall Street Journal's Yun-Hee Kim reported, "Samsung Electronics Co. likely topped Nokia Corp. as the world’s largest mobile handset maker in 2012, according to a survey. IHS iSuppli said in a research report Wednesday that for the first time in 14 years, Nokia has lost the No. 1 spot in mobile phones on an annual basis. Samsung’s market share is estimated to have risen to 29% in 2012 from 24% a year earlier, while Nokia’s share of the mobile phone market likely dropped to 24% from 30% in 2011, the report said."

PCMag's Angela Moscaritolo noted, "Smartphones are the fastest-growing segment of the market, accounting for nearly half of all wireless handset shipments in 2012, Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS, said in a statement. Global smartphone shipments are projected to rise by 35.5 percent this year, while overall cell phone shipments will increase just 1 percent. Smartphone penetration for the year will hit 47 percent, up from 35 percent in 2011. 'The competitive reality of the cell phone market in 2012 was 'live by the smartphone; die by the smartphone,' Lam said. 'Samsung's successes and Nokia's struggles in the cell phone market this year were determined entirely by the two companies' divergent fortunes in the smartphone sector.'"

Nathan Eddy from eWeek added, "While Samsung has managed to eclipse arch-rival Apple in smartphone shipments thanks to its best-selling Galaxy line of handsets, the Samsung and Apple duopoly still represents the dominant force in the smartphone market, with the two companies accounting for just under half (49 percent) of shipments in 2012, up from 39 percent in 2011. 'Entering the 2012 year, Samsung moved ahead decisively ahead of Apple with a wide range of Android smartphone offerings. Samsung made significant gains in both the high end as well as the low-cost market with its Galaxy line of smartphones,' the report said. 'This diversified market approach has allowed Samsung to address a larger target audience for its phones than Apple’s limited premium iPhone line.'"

TechCrunch's Natasha Lomas observed, "There’s cold comfort in IHS’ rankings for smartphone makers HTC and RIM: both are predicted to slip to just a five percent share apiece of the 2012 smartphone handset market, dropping from nine percent and 11 percent respectively in 2011. HTC has suffered by having to compete in an Android landscape that is so dominated by Samsung, while RIM has spent the year undertaking its own platform transition — and won’t have any handsets running its next-gen BlackBerry 10 OS in the market until 2013."

Tags: Apple, smartphone, Nokia, Samsung, cell phone, RIM, HTC, IHS iSuppli

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