Samsung heads global mobile phone markets

Samsung accounts for a quarter of all mobile phones shipped worldwide last year- as its shipments rose nearly 20% to 396.5 million.Apple’s phone shipments grew by 46% to a record 135.8 million mobile phones worldwide in 2012.

But Nokia’s global phone shipments fell by 20% from 417.1 million units in 2011 to 335.6 million.

Overall, total shipments grew by 2% annually to reach 1.6 billion units in 2012, according to Strategy Analytics.

Neil Shah, senior analyst at the research firm, said: “Ongoing macroeconomic challenges in mature markets like North America and Western Europe, tighter operator upgrade policies, and shifting consumer tastes” were among the reasons for the modest global growth figure.

He added: “Fuelled by robust demand for its popular Galaxy models, Samsung was the star performer, shipping a record 396.5 million mobile phones worldwide and capturing 25% market share to solidify its first-place lead.

Global mobile handset shipments (2012)
Company                Units (millions)             Market share
Samsung                        396.5                                25.2%
Nokia                              335.6                               21.3%
Apple                              135.8                                 8.6%
ZTE                                  71.7                                  4.6%
Other                             635.4                                40.3%

Source: Strategy Analytics

By contrast Strategy Analytics said global smartphone shipments grew by 43% annually to a record 700 million units in last year.

Global smartphone shipments for the full year reached a record 700.1 million units in 2012, from 490.5 million units in 2011, but there were signs that shipments of smartphones began to mature in developed regions such as North America and Western Europe.

Once again Samsung had the biggest market share, at 30% worldwide and extending its lead over Apple and Nokia.

The research comes as Samsung reported a 76% jump in profits for the last three months of 2012, helped by sales of its Galaxy smartphones.

Net income rose to a record £4.2 billion, up from £2.40 billion won in the same period a year earlier, beating analysts’ expectations.

The Korean firm said its mobile profits more than doubled over the same period.

Last year, Samsung became the world’s biggest smartphone maker, overtaking Apple, its main rival in the sector.This week Apple also reported quarterly results, showing flat profits, unchanged from a year earlier at $13.1bn, and record quarterly revenue of $55bn.

But it was not enough to overcome disappointment over sales of the company’s new iPhone 5, as analysts said the firm was in danger of becoming a victim of its own success.

The firm said late that it had sold more iPhones (47.8 million) and iPads (22.9 million) in the final three months of last year than in any previous quarter.

Meanwhile Nokia, the struggling Finnish mobile phone maker which once dominated the global mobile market, said that it had swung back into profit in the last three months of 2012.

Pre-tax profit for the quarter was £316 millon, against a £821 million loss last year. Nokia said it sold 15.9 million smartphones in the quarter, down from 19.6 million a year earlier.