However, worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 1.75 billion units in 2012, a 1.7 percent decline from 2011 sales, according to Gartner.
Gartner principal research Anshul Gupta blamed: "Tough economic conditions, shifting consumer preferences and intense market competition" for the weakened worldwide mobile phone market. He noted that the last time the worldwide mobile phone market declined was in 2009.
Regarding the success of Apple and Samsung, Gupta said: "There is no manufacturer that can firmly lay claim to the No. 3 spot in global smartphone sales. The success of Apple and Samsung is based on the strength of their brands as much as their actual products. Their direct competitors, including those with comparable products, struggle to achieve the same brand appreciation among consumers, who, in a tough economic environment, go for cheaper products over brand."
Apple's worldwide market share in 2012
In addition, last month, worldwide smartphone data from IDC indicated that Apple's worldwide market share grew to 25.1 percent in 2012 but it was in second place worldwide, behind market leader Samsung.
According to that report, Apple's total iPhone shipments increased 46.9% last year, from 93.1 million handsets in 2011 to 136.8 million in 2012.
The IDC data suggested that Samsung grew its shipments by 129.1 percent, double that of Apple's year-over-year growth, notes Apple Insider.
Gartner claims that in 2012, Samsung totaled 384.6 million mobile phones sales, of which 53.5 percent (up from 28 percent in 2011) were smartphone sales (that's 205.76 million smartphones from Samsung).
Apple, on the other hand, saw 130 million smartphone sales worldwide in 2012, according to that data.
This research suggests that if all Samsung's smartphones are included (rather than just the Galaxy S3) then that company sold 205.76 million smartphones in the quarter, compared to Apple's 130 million.
US smartphone market share
A report from Strategy Analytics earlier this month indicated that Apple shipped 17.7 million mobile phones, putting it at pole position, with a record 34% of the US market during the fourth quarter of 2012. That was up from 12.8 million units shipped and a 25.4% share in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Samsung, meanwhile, shipped 16.8 million mobile phones for a 32.3% market share, up from 13.5 million units and 26.9% in 2011, according to that report.
That report noted that Samsung had held the top spot in the US since 2008.
Data from the comScore MobiLens service also suggests that Apple ranked as the top smartphone manufacturer in the US in the fourth quarter of 2012 with 36.3 percent share.
iOS internet market share
However, according to the comScore report, Google Android led as the US's number one smartphone platform with 53.4 percent share, writes MacDailyNews.
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