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Strategy Analytics: Global Smartphone Shipments Reach a Record 700 Million Units in 2012

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments grew 43 percent annually to reach a record 700 million units in 2012. Samsung was the star performer, capturing 30 percent marketshare worldwide and extending its lead over Apple and Nokia.

Neil Shah, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global smartphone shipments grew 38 percent annually from 157.0 million units in Q4 2011 to 217.0 million in Q4 2012. Global smartphone shipments for the full year reached a record 700.1 million units in 2012, increasing robustly from 490.5 million units in 2011. Global shipment growth slowed from 64 percent in 2011 to 43 percent in 2012 as penetration of smartphones began to mature in developed regions such as North America and Western Europe.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Samsung shipped a record 213.0 million smartphones worldwide and captured 30 percent marketshare in 2012. This was the largest number of units ever shipped by a smartphone vendor in a single year, beating Nokia’s previous all-time record when it shipped 100.1 million units during 2010. Despite tough competition in stores and courtrooms, Samsung continued to deliver numerous hit models, from the high-end Galaxy Note2 phablet to the mass-market Galaxy Y. Apple grew a healthy 46 percent annually and shipped 135.8 million smartphones worldwide for 19 percent marketshare in 2012, broadly flat from the 19 percent level recorded in 2011. Apple had a strong year in developed regions like North America, but this was offset partly by its limited presence in high-growth emerging markets such as Africa.”

Linda Sui, Analyst at Strategy Analytics, added, “Samsung and Apple together accounted for half of all smartphones shipped worldwide in 2012. Large marketing budgets, extensive distribution channels and attractive product portfolios have enabled Samsung and Apple to tighten their grip on the smartphone industry. The growth of Samsung and Apple has continued to impact Nokia. Nokia retained its position as the world’s third largest smartphone vendor for full-year 2012, but its global marketshare has dropped sharply from 16 percent to five percent during the past year. Nokia’s Windows Phone portfolio has improved significantly in recent months, with new models like the Lumia 920, but we believe the vendor still lacks a true hero model in its range that can be considered an Apple iPhone or Samsung S3 killer.”

Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q4 2012 1

Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)         Q4 '11   2011   Q4 '12   2012
Samsung         36.5   97.4   63.0   213.0
Apple 37.0 93.0 47.8 135.8
Nokia 19.6 77.3 6.6 35.0
Others         63.9   222.8   99.6   316.3


        157.0   490.5   217.0   700.1
Global Smartphone Vendor Marketshare %         Q4 '11   2011   Q4 '12   2012
Samsung 23.2% 19.9% 29.0% 30.4%
Apple 23.6% 19.0% 22.0% 19.4%
Nokia 12.5% 15.8% 3.0% 5.0%
Others         40.7%   45.4%   45.9%   45.2%
Total         100.0%   100.0%   100.0%   100.0%
Total Growth Year-over-Year % 55.9% 63.8% 38.2% 42.7%

1 Numbers are rounded.

The full report, Global Smartphone Shipments Reach a Record 700 Million Units in 2012, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, details of which can be found here:

About Strategy Analytics:

Strategy Analytics is a global, independent research and consulting firm. The company is headquartered in Boston, USA, with offices in the UK, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, India and China. Visit for more information.

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