Samsung’s Galaxy S III steals smartphone crown from iPhone

Best Selling Smartphone 2012

The best-selling smartphone in the world is no longer an iPhone. New data released on Thursday by market research firm Strategy Analytics finds that Samsung’s (005930) Galaxy S III was the world’s top-selling smartphone model in the third quarter this year, displacing Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone for the first time in years. Samsung announced earlier this week that cumulative Galaxy S III channel sales reached the 30 million unit milestone and according to Strategy Analytics, 18 million of those were shipped in Q3 2012. During the same period, Apple shipped an estimated 16.2 million iPhone 4S handsets, slipping into the No.2 spot for the quarter.

“Samsung’s Galaxy S3 smartphone model shipped 18.0 million units worldwide during the third quarter of 2012,” said Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Shah. “The Galaxy S3 captured an impressive 11 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally and it has become the world’s best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever. A large touchscreen design, extensive distribution across dozens of countries, and generous operator subsidies have been among the main causes of the Galaxy S3’s success. Apple shipped an estimated 16.2 million iPhone 4S units worldwide for second place, as consumers temporarily held off purchases in anticipation of a widely expected iPhone 5 upgrade at the end of the quarter.”

Samsung’s time at the top will be short-lived however, as Apple’s iPhone 5 is expected to regain the title to top-selling smartphone in the December quarter. “Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has proven wildly popular with consumers and operators across North America, Europe and Asia,” Shah’s colleague Neil Mawtson stated. “However, the Galaxy S3’s position as the world’s best-selling smartphone model is likely to be short-lived. The Apple iPhone 5 has gotten off to a solid start already with an estimated 6.0 million units shipped globally during Q3 2012. We expect the new iPhone 5 to out-ship Samsung’s Galaxy S3 in the coming fourth quarter of 2012 and Apple should soon reclaim the title of the world’s most popular smartphone model.”

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