Gartner: Samsung steals Nokia's crown as global phone leader

Gartner: Samsung steals Nokia's crown as global phone leader

Summary: Samsung and Android -- in the face of a 2 percent slowdown in global phone sales -- remain an unstoppable force, as Nokia and Apple are both put in their respective places.


Global mobile phone sales have shrunk by 2 percent in the first-quarter after poor sales and slower demand saw many phones left on store shelves.

In Q1 2011, Research analysts Gartner recorded 427.8 million devices sold; yet a year later to today and the figure has only dropped by around 10 million.

Nokia took the brunt of the market beating as Samsung swooped in to take the market share crown. Because Samsung invested heavily in Google's mobile operating system, Android also saw an increase in numbers.

Slower demand in the Asia-Pacific region saw the first significant drop in sales since 2009, reports Reuters. Often the first quarter is where the region takes most sales. The December holiday season often bumps the numbers for fourth-quarter results, while post-holiday sales discounts often makes up for the ever-expected depression during the first three months.

China saw a significant drop by 6 percent as consumers in particular wait for the next wave of high-end smartphones. Apple's iPhone is expected to be announced at WWDC 2012 in June.

Sister site CNET reports that Apple and China Mobile, the world's largest mobile network, are in talks to bring the iPhone to the network. It comes a few months after Apple's chief executive Tim Cook visited Beijing to discuss among other things bringing the smartphone to more than 660 million customers.

Gartner said Samsung had pinched the top-spot from Nokia during the period, who had reigned over the cellphone market for more than a decade.

Samsung sold 86.6 million devices --- including cellphones and smartphones --- and saw its global market share rise to 20.7 percent, up from 16.1 percent a year ago.

Nokia sold 83.2 million handsets and saw its global market share drop to 19.8 percent from 25.1 percent the year before. The company has suffered a loss but is far from out of the race yet. It remains firmly in second place eclipsing other major mobile phone makers and even other Android partners.

Apple, on the other hand, fell way behind with 33.1 million handsets, but saw its global market share double to 7.9 percent, up from from 3.9 percent last year.

In total, 144 million smartphones were sold during the quarter, up by nearly double from the same three month period in 2011. The price of smartphones has remained vastly steady, but also phone makers are lowering the smartphone bar meaning lesser-powerful and lower-priced devices are taken into the overall rankings.

Nokia has accomplished one good thing. In the space of a year, the Finnish phone maker has reduced Symbian's share from 27.7 percent to 8.6 percent.

Alongside this, Apple's iOS share rose by 6 percentage points to 29.9 percent, while Google's Android powered more than 56 percent of all smartphones, up from 36.4 percent a year ago.

Gartner said the slow start makes the rest of the year look somewhat bleak, and will knock down its full-year outlook by 20 million devices.

Samsung in the lead, check. Android in the lead, check. If you see a recurring pattern here --- the killer combination of Samsung and Android --- you're not the only one.

Image credit: Are Sjoberg/Flickr, via CNET.


Topics: Nokia, CXO, Hardware, IT Priorities, Mobility, Samsung

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  • What recurring pattern?

    A 'recurring' pattern based on few quarter results is no big deal...people are getting bored with samsungs plastic designs...
  • Apple put in its place?

    Yes, I'm sure Apple will feel really put in its respective place with only 75% of the available mobile profits coming into its coffers.
    A Grain of Salt
    • That's Smartphone Profits..... Fool!

      And post a link where it's stated they make 75% of all mobile profits? Plus it would be nice if you could explain how all those Obscene Corporate Profits benefits YOU as one of the iDiots scammed into buying their Chinese made iJunk? Made Cheaply in China and it's still the same Chinese workers making them that make everything else made in China. Which is about everything else in Electronic Parts & Devices except what Samsung makes in So. Korea and America!!!

      Only part in the whole iDevice product list made in America is made by Samsung. Who are also the largest Corporate Investor in America last year (near every year), winning Top Honors by spending Billions more than the next biggest investor in America, Toyota last year! .....and where's Apple on that CiCi Investor Award list? They're not even on it! haha....

      So tell us how in the world Apple making all those Obscene Profits off YOU benefits YOU in any way whatsoever??? ;-p .....and Samsung is now in the same list of higher profit making device makers as Apple...... Fool!!! Profits compared to Profits Company to Company..... they aren't even equal and Apple only leads on percentage of profit per device on iPhones.... nothing else. ^_^ Samsung with Total Net Assets of $345 Billion Dollars and revenue more than doubling Apple's last year, is the Corporate Conglomerate King at the top of the Electronics and other diversified Mega Corps!
  • "Apple, on the other hand, fell"?

    They increased their Y-Y share dramatically.
    • No, it's their revenue and profit

      Which is good. But having a competitor selling more units can be troublesome down the road and could potentially force their profits down. Being things as they are today, it would be hard but it's still possible. Apple is probably already looking at the trends and adjusting their strategy to meet these new challenges. As much as I dislike them and their product design philosophy, they didn't get to where they are by being stupid.
  • I get how it's going to happen.

    "The price of smartphones has remained vastly steady, but also phone makers are lowering the smartphone bar meaning lesser-powerful and lower-priced devices are taken into the overall rankings."
    This way they can put WP 7 on feature phones and claim they're suddenly "Smartphones". When WP 8 comes out there will be a sort of a four way fragmentation of Microsoft's Mobile OS. There will be Windows Mobile, with the largest share followed by WP 7 on feature phones, and WP 8{(Window RT) on full power "Smartphones", and finally the special Nokia version.
    Jumpin Jack Flash
    • Right. Is that kind of like Android

      in which they use the OS on the low end to free phones, phones barely able to be called "smartphones", and then use that to claim "People are 'buying' Android "smartphones" over iOS or WP7"?

      I agree, with Android they throw it on a feature phone, it's now "a smartphone".

      Kind of deceptive, I agree.
      William Farrel
      • Nokia is crap

        Had they not sold their soul to the "devil", I might still respect them. But since Nokia told their US fans "Screw you!" (I am a former Nokia Fan), then said Screw you again (By climbing in bed with Microsoft), they can guarranty I'll Never buy their Crap, as long as Elop and Ballmer are in charge of Nokia.
        Jumpin Jack Flash
      • How did Nokia tell their fans "screw you"? Just the opposite

        they decided [b]not[/b] to screw their fans by going with Android or Symbian.
        Nothing wrong with Android, it's a dime a dozen fight to the bottom with those phones. So instead of jumping in that race, they stuck to quality, and went with WP7.

        Even the [b]cofounder of Apple[/b] loves the Lumia 900, and said that WP7 is so much better then Android, so that says alot right there.

        But what you're saying is that you are so heavily biased against MS, and would settle for second or third best instead of going with WP7, or WP8 (or whatever it'll be called)

        That's fine, just don't pretend to us your decisions is based on quality or whatever.

        And that still doesn't change what I pointed out - that what you said [i]will[/i] happen with WP7 or 8, is [b]already[/b] happening with Android.
        William Farrel
      • Nokia screwed fans...

        First by telling the US market, we weren't worthy. Then by telling the world they were only going to use a low class OS like Windows. I would have bought a Nokia phone with Android/symbian, long before I'd ever on another "Windows" phone. The last one I had was utter garbage, so I'm in no rush to go through that crap again. I'vetried several Window Phone7 phones, and none of them suit my needs. They remind me of those Kin "feature phones"
        Jumpin Jack Flash
  • Samsung vs. Nokia

    I can't speak to Nokia phones, but I have a Samsung and it is the worst phone I have ever owned. I can't wait to replace it.
    • Google Nexus S

      My Google Nexus S is awesome, I've owned i-devices in the past and this thing makes me not miss them at all.
    • My past Samsung phones wher fine

      I actually think LG makes some crappy hardware, but had good luck with Samsung. They seemed like solid phones to me.
      William Farrel
    • I have 20 month-old SGS..

      And it's worked perfectly. Has survived a few falls, even. I sort of expected the battery to be quite degraded by this time, but surprisingly it gets through the entire day as well as and sometimes better than the iPhone 4S they gave me at work. The camera was very good when I bought it, now, the one in the iPhone puts it to shame but I can still get good pictures and get them off the phone easily enough.
  • Nokia is DOA after receiving MS kiss of death

    people interested in Nokia smartphones, as soon they realize it runs MS Windows, they run away.
  • A revisionist....

    "Nokia has accomplished one good thing. In the space of a year, the Finnish phone maker has reduced Symbian???s share from 27.7 percent to 8.6 percent."

    There was nothing wrong with Symbian in the first place.
    • Except that people did not want it

      As good as it was, no one was interested in it, and Nokia stuck with it far too long, as people where going after other phone OS's.
      Tim Cook
      • no one was interested in it

        are you talking about Windows phones?
      • Yet, Symbian still sells better than WP

        Yes, after more than one year after it was pronounced dead by Flop, Symbian still sells more than WP. Worldwide. Quite an achievement.
        Or maybe it's just WP being awful?