Samsung Distances Itself From Apple as Top Smartphone Manufacturer [Report]

Samsung, the company that went to court with Apple in the fight for mobile market share, has become the leading cellphone manufacturer on a global scale at the end of 2012, ending Nokia’s 14-year reign and pushing Apple into third place.

The South Korean manufacturer’s handsets now account for 29% of global mobile phone shipments, a 5% rise compared to a year ago, according to IHS Suppli’s recent report. Nokia, on the other hand, lost a significant 6% of its global market share, which now accounts for only 24%, while the iPhone’s popularity pushed Apple’s market share up with 3+%. Although Apple has only a single handset for sale, it currently has 10% of the global market, strengthening its position on the market.

The Samsung and Apple market share looked different last year, when they were separated by only 1%, with 2012 bringing a big boost for the South Korean manufacturer as a result of successful product launches such as the Galaxy S III. In addition, Samsung has been focusing on a diversified market approach, which has given the company huge traction, and distanced the two tech giants from each other.

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Samsung and Apple ended 2011 in a neck-and-neck battle for leadership in the smartphone market, with only 1 percentage point of market share separating them. However, entering the 2012 year, Samsung moved ahead decisively ahead of Apple with a wide range of Android smartphone offerings. Samsung made significant gains in both the high end as well as the low-cost market with its Galaxy line of smartphones. This diversified market approach has allowed Samsung to address a larger target audience for its phones than Apple’s limited premium iPhone line, the report highlights.

IHS Suppli’s preliminary forecast of top 5 smartphone handset OEMs in 2012 claims Samsung will increase lead ahead of Apple with 8%. However, the Apple and Samsung duet dominates the smartphone market, as they account for 49% of smartphone shipments in 2012, up from 39% recorded a year ago.

As the IHS supply report points out, global smartphone shipments are expected to rise about 35.5% this year. Feature phone shipments, on the other hand, won’t see the same growth, as more and more users are switching to smartphones worldwide. IHS forecasts a 1% growth for the feature phone market.

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