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Is Apple iPhone the world's best selling smartphone? Researchers disagree

Karen Haslam | Feb. 21, 2013
Is Apple the winner in the smartphone race or has Samsung left it for dust? Various market research companies have revealed data for the final quarter of 2012, but the reports appear to contradict each other.

Is Apple the winner in the smartphone race or has Samsung left it for dust? Various market research companies have revealed data for the final quarter of 2012, but the reports appear to contradict each other, with Strategy Analytics suggesting that Apple's in the smartphone pole position worldwide, while IDC and Gartner suggest otherwise. Who's right? Just how big it the iPhone's marketshare?

Apple heads up worldwide smartphone market share

Apple shipped 27.4 million iPhone 5 units and overtook Samsung Galaxy S3 to become the world's best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever in Q4 2012, according to Strategy Analytics.

Strategy Analytics Senior Analyst Neil Shah said: "The iPhone 5 captured an impressive 13 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally".

"In addition to the iPhone 5, Apple shipped an estimated 17.4 million iPhone 4S units for 8 percent smartphone share globally in Q4 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S are currently the world's two most popular smartphone models," he added.

This suggests that the naysayers who claim that Apple is losing out to Samsung, who is said to be selling more smartphones on a worldwide scale, are incorrect.

The full Strategy Analytics report is here.

The Strategy Analytics research indicates that in quarter four of 2012 Apple sold 27.4 million iPhone 5 and 17.4 million iPhone 4S, compared to Samsung Galaxy S3 sales of 15.4 million.

Apple released the iPhone 5 at the end of the third quarter and still saw 6 million sales, it also sold 16.2 iPhone 4S models in the third quarter. Samsung sold 18 million S3 phones in the third quarter of 2012, suggesting that combined iPhone sales were still better than Samsung even in the quarter in which people were said to be holding off updating to the iPhone as a new model was anticipated.

No, Samsung was global number one, according to Gartner

In contrast to Strategy Analytics, earlier this month, Gartner issued a report claiming that Samsung ended the year in the number one position, in both worldwide smartphone sales and overall mobile phone sales.

Gartner clamed that in the fourth quarter of 2012, Samsung's overall smartphone sales continued to accelerate totaling 64.5 million units, up 85.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011.

In contrast, Apple's sales reached 43.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 22.6 percent year-on-year.

That contrasts to Strategy Analytics claim of 44.8 million iPhones compared to Samsung Galaxy S3 sales of 15.4 million (there is potentially another 49.1 million Samsung phones unaccounted for in the data).

Gartner noted that in the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple and Samsung together raised their worldwide smartphone market share to 52 percent from 46.4 percent in the third quarter of 2012.

 

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