More Than Half of Smartphones Sold Worldwide Manufactured by Apple or Samsung

Apple and Samsung smartphones combined accounted for 52% of all smartphone shipments, emphasizing once again that the race for consumers is between the two tech giants, a Gartner report suggests.

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While worldwide mobile phone sales in 2012 dropped 1.7% compared to 2011, smartphones continued to drive overall cell phone sales during the fourth quarter of last year. According to Gartner’s data, manufacturers sold 207.7 million units during the last 13 weeks of the year, recording 38.3% growth compared to the same period a year previously.

As previous reports have already suggested, the high demand for the iPhone 5 pushed Apple to the top of OEMs in the US. The Gartner report goes on to analyze the company’s position on a global scale. Apple and Samsung smartphones were the driving powers behind the 5.6% growth of the smartphone market to 52% in the fourth quarter, up from 46.4% the previous quarter.

Samsung retained the No. 1 spot, while Apple ranked second, but “there is no manufacturer that can firmly lay claim to the No. 3 spot in global smartphone sales,” Gartner’s analyst Anshul Gupta says. However, for the fourth quarter of 2012, this position went to Huawei, by selling 27.2 million smartphones to end users, up nearly 74% on a year-over-year basis.

“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,” the Gartner report says.

Finnish manufacturer Nokia has recorded its lowest ever share of the worldwide mobile market, accounting for just 18% in the holiday quarter, down from 24.4% a year previously.

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