Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Samsung ends Nokia's 14-year run atop mobile, takes decisive smartphone lead over Apple: iSuppli

It's a story that actually begun earlier in the year, when in April, Samsung overtook Nokia as the top manufacturer of mobile phones, globally. However, as announced on Tuesday, it's now reached its inevitable conclusion: for the first time in 14 years, Nokia will end the year atop of the global cell phone business on an annual basis.

IHS iSuppli reported that -- at the end of 2012 -- Samsung will take that honor.

The story of Samsung's worldwide domination goes far further, though. The market research firm said that Samsung has also taken a "decisive smartphone lead over Apple."

It's a preliminary result, of course, with results not reported yet, but the market share in IHS iSuppli's report is such that there's no way a significant shift will occur in the remaining days before the end of 2012.

Here's how it reads, in terms of market share percentages for both 2011 and 2012:
  • Samsung: 24 (2011), 29 (2012)
  • Nokia: 30 (2011), 24 (2012)
  • Apple: 7 (2011), 10 (2012)
  • ZTE: 6 (2011), 6 (2012)
  • LG: 6 (2011), 4 (2012)
Note that these percentages are for mobile phones, not just smartphones. When it comes to smartphones only, here are the numbers:
  • Samsung: 20 (2011), 28 (2012)
  • Apple: 19 (2011), 20 (2012)
  • Nokia: 16 (2011), 5 (2012)
  • HTC: 9 (2011), 5 (2012)
  • RIM: 11 (2011), 5 (2012)
It's a sad fall from grace for Nokia, whether looking at cell phones overall or just smartphones. Things aren't exactly rosy for RIM, either, which saw it's smartphone market share more than halved. HTC, as well, did not do well in 2012, dropping nearly 50 percent in market share.
Here's IHS iSuppli's analysis of the Samsung juggernaut:
Samsung's success has been built on its “fast follower” strategy for design and manufacturing. The company produces dozens of new smartphone models every year that address all segments of the market, from the high end to the low end. Samsung monitors the big trends in smartphone design, user needs and unmet market opportunities, then creates products to fit those markets quickly and efficiently.
In terms of smartphones, Samsung and Apple are called a duopoly by IHS iSuppli:
The Samsung and Apple duopoly represents the dominant force in the smartphone market, with the two companies accounting for 49 percent of shipments in 2012, up from 39 percent in 2011. While Nokia and Canada’s Research in Motion (RIM) also held double-digit shares of the market in 2011, Samsung and Apple remain the only two players that will each command a double-digit portion of the smartphone space in 2012.

However, 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. This diversified market approach has allowed Samsung to address a larger target audience for its phones than Apple’s limited premium iPhone line.
We've seen smartphones becoming mainstream in the U.S., and IHS iSuppli expects that to happen globally in 2013. It expects smartphones will become the majority among all phone segments in 2013, reaching 56 percent. As Samsung offers a wide variety of smartphones across high-, mid-, and low-end handsets, this could be another year in which the Korean giant increases its lead over Apple.

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