Guess who moved Korean giant Samsung back into the number two spot for smartphone vendors? According to numbers released in the fourth quarter of 2011, Apple has moved back into the number one spot by a small margin. These numbers are according to research firm Strategy Analytics and IHS iSuppli.
Samsung moved into the number one spot in the third quarter of last year as customers were impatiently waiting for the iPhone 4S. Global smartphone sales grew 54 percent annually to reach a record of 155 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011 according to Alex Spector, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics. Apple’s global smartphone shipments grew an astounding 128 percent annually to 37 million units across multiple countries. Samsung shipments were up 241 percent at 36.5 million. Talk about a close competition!
Apple and Samsung are also involved in fierce patent litigation as Apple is trying to block Samsung devices in multiple markets.
The numbers for Nokia cut in half from 33% in 2010 to 16% in 2011, probably because of it’s lacking touchscreen portfolio and it’s tiny presence in the U.S. market. Experts will be watching to see how Microsoft and Nokia partner in 2012 to expand the 4G LTE. Android didn’t fare so well either as the marketplace is becoming crowded with various licensees competing for a smaller customer base. Sony Ericsson shipped a lackluster 9 million phones in the 4th quarter indicating at 20% drop.
Apple first took the prized number one spot in the second quarter of 2011 as it beat out Nokia and Samsung. It’s important to note that Samsung no longer reports mobile phone sales numbers as
it ended the practice in mid-2010 for competitive reasons. Companies such as Strategy Analytics and IHS iSuppli can only estimate numbers based on the company’s financial numbers and other evidence.
The bigger question here is if Apple will continue to hold the number one spot. Steve Jobs was rumored to be working on the iPhone 5 until his last day. Will it’s release solidify Apple’s hold on the global market? How will Samsung compete? As always, we will continue to keep you posted.