Samsung will end 2012 as the top of the phone makers, with it overtaking Nokia as the world's leading manufacturer.
The Korean manufacturer overtook Nokia as the world's biggest phone maker earlier in the year, driven by soaring sales of its Galaxy portfolio of handsets, and its Finnish rival has been unable to catch up. According to figures from IHS iSuppli, Samsung has ended the year with a 29% share of mobile shipments, up from 24% last year. Nokia's share has tumbled by a fifth to 24% and 2012 is the first year since 1998 that Nokia was not in pole position for phone shipments.
Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS, said: 'The competitive reality of the cellphone market in 2012 was "live by the smartphone; die by the smartphone". Smartphones represent the fastest-growing segment of the cellphone-market and will account for nearly half of all wireless handset shipments for all of 2012. Samsung's successes and Nokia's struggles in the cellphone market this year were detemined entirely by the two companies' divergent fortunes in the smartphone sector.'
Samsung has been bolstered by a series of successful smartphone launches in 2012, including the Galaxy SIII, which has sold more than 30m units since it went on sale. By contrast, Nokia has struggled as it switched to the Windows Phone platform. In its most recent set of results, the manufacturer said it sold 2.9m Lumia handsets during its third quarter. By contrast, Apple took three days to sell 5m of its iPhone 5. Apple's overall share of the phone market increased by 42.9% to 10%.
The researchers said Samsung is winning the smartphone war with Apple. While only one percentage point separated the two rivals at the end of last year, Samsung stretched its lead to account for 28% of the market in 2012, while Apple had a 20% share.
In challenging years for HTC and Research in Motion, both manufacturers saw their shares fall sharply. HTC's smartphone share dropped from 9% to 5% and RIM's from 11% to 5%.
IHS added that smartphones will go mainstream in 2013. It said: 'With the growth momentum behind smartphones, IHS anticipates that the smartphone penetration rate in 2013 will elevate smartphones into the majority among all phone segments, at 56%. This event will mark a significant tipping point in the mobile handset market, as the smartphone takes a dominant position in the industry.'
Author: Graeme Neill