Samsung becomes #1 handset maker
Meanwhile, the worldwide smartphone market grew 42.5% YoY in Q1/2012, as Samsung overtook Apple for the smartphone leadership position. Vendors shipped 144.9 million smartphones, compared to 101.7 million units in Q1/2011. In Q4/2011 this growth represented 57.4%.
The South Korean handset maker reclaimed the smartphone leadership position and established a new market record for the number of smartphones shipped in a single quarter. Propelling the company forward was continued expansion of its Galaxy portfolio in nearly all directions: new and old smartphones, product and market segmentation, and multiple price points, screen sizes, and processor speeds.
The Cupertino, California, US-based company slipped to second place in the worldwide smartphone market, but nonetheless posted strong year-over-year growth to reach 35.1 million units shipped. Apple's gains in the market benefited from iPhone availability at additional mobile operators worldwide, as well as sustained end-user demand among both consumers and enterprise users.
The Finnish handset maker’s Symbian phone shipments declined precipitously last quarter as demand dropped in key emerging markets, such as China. The company's current smartphone woes make a speedy transition to products powered by the Windows Phone operating system, upon which it has bet its smartphone future, critical.
Research In Motion (RIM)
RIM’s BlackBerry unit decline continued last quarter, reaching levels not seen since 2009. Like Nokia, RIM is a company in transition. Smartphones running on its new platform, BlackBerry 10, are expected to increase results.
HTC’s struggles in the US market once again negatively affected its overall performance. However, its relatively strong performance in Asia/Pacific still allowed the company to maintain its position among the top five smartphone vendors. The company is staking future success in large part on its One X and S products.
According to Strategy Analytics, global handset shipments grew by 3% annually to reach 368 million units in Q1/2012. Although Samsung did not break out device sales figures, the consultancy estimated that the firm shipped 93.5 million units in Q1/2012, giving it a 25.4% share of the global market ahead of the 82.7 million units reported by Nokia (22.5%) and Apple’s 35.1 million iPhones (9.5%). Nokia had held the number-one spot for 14 years.
In the smartphones segment, Samsung had 44.5 million shipments in Q1/2012, or 253% growth. Thus, South Korean vendor takes 30.6% share of smartphone sector, 25.4% share of total mobile phones market. In the quarter, the South Korean electronics giant shipped 36% more handsets than a year earlier and also outsold Apple in the smartphone segment, where Apple followed with a 24.1% share. Nokia held a 22.5% share as its shipments dropped 24% to 82.7 million units in the quarter.
However, HIS iSuppli reports that Apple shipped 35 million smartphones in Q1/2012 to Samsung’s 32 million. The consultancy claims Apple remained in the same position in smartphones that it captured in Q4/2011, at #1, while Samsung held on to second place.
Meantime, thanks to Samsung’s performance in its mobile business, the South Korean conglomerate posted a US$ 4.4 billion (EUR 3.4 billion) net profit in the quarter, up 81% from the year-ago period. Samsung's operating profit reached an all-time high of US$ 5.16 billion (EUR 3.96 billion), up 98% YoY. Overall net sales clocked in at US$ 40 billion (EUR 31 billion) for the quarter, up 22% from the year-ago period. Sales in the mobile division were US$ 16.68 billion (EUR 12.81 billion), up 86% YoY. Samsung nearly tripled the operating profit of its telecommunications business, which houses its handset and network technology units.
Meanwhile, in the US, the latest numbers from research firm comScore show that, for the first time, Android devices accounted for 51% of all smartphones used in the US in Q1/2012. Apple’s iOS accounted for 30.7% of all smartphones used in Q1/2012, while RIM’s BlackBerry OS accounted for 12.3%. ComScore also found that Samsung, which produces the Galaxy line of Android smartphones, was the top overall manufacturer in the US, accounting for 26% of all smartphones used in the quarter. LG (19.3%), Apple (14%), Motorola (12.8%) and HTC (6%) all rounded out the top five manufacturers on the quarter.