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. Samsung ended the year in the No. 1 position, in both worldwide smartphone sales and overall mobile phone sales.
“There is no manufacturer that can firmly lay claim to the No. 3 spot in global smartphone sales,” said Mr. Gupta. “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.”
Samsung's resources and ability to build a broad market reach is an advantage that no other competitor can easily match. However, the competition will intensify in 2013 as players such as Sony and Nokia improve. “With Samsung commanding over 42.5 percent of the Android market globally, and the next vendor at just 6 percent share, the Android brand is being overshadowed by Samsung's brand with the Galaxy name nearly a synonym for Android phones in consumers' mind share,” said Mr. Gupta.
Apple’s sales reached 43.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 22.6 percent year-on-year. In 2012, Apple totaled 130 million smartphone sales worldwide. While the demand for iPhones in the fourth quarter remained strong, consumers’ demand favored the less expensive iPhone 4 and 4S models. The arrival of the iPad Mini also created a dilemma for some users when deciding if to upgrade an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S to an iPhone 5, or buy the new tablet.
Notably, worldwide mobile phone sales totaled 1.75 billion units in 2012, a 1.7% drop from 2011. However, smartphones sales reached a record 207.7 million units in 4Q12, up 38.3% year-over-year.