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Samsung extends mobile market lead as Nokia dwindles, Apple stalls

Cell Phone Market Share Q1 2013

Samsung cleaned up in the first quarter. The South Korea-based vendor raked in record profits between January and March, and market research firm Strategy Analytics helps illustrate just how dominant Samsung has become in terms of shipment volumes. As the company’s lead in the smartphone market grew last quarter, so too did its share of all global cell phone shipments. According to Strategy Analytics, Samsung shipped 106.6 million mobile phones worldwide in Q1 2013 to capture 28.6% of the global market. Those stats are up from the same quarter last year, when Samsung shipped 92.5 million units good for 24.5% of the market.

One-time market leader Nokia continued to see the past slip away, as first-quarter mobile phone shipments plummeted to 61.9 million units from 82.7 million in the year-ago quarter. Nokia’s market share also dipped, of course, from 21.9% in Q1 2012 to 16.6% in Q1 2013.

Apple’s growth in the March quarter slowed substantially despite climbing to 37.4 million iPhones from to 35.1 million in the same quarter a year earlier. The global mobile phone market outgrew Apple by a healthy rate though, and its market share climbed less than a point to 10% in Q1.

“Ongoing macroeconomic challenges in Asia, Europe and North America, relatively tighter operator upgrade policies for 3G phones, and slowing volumes of 2G feature phones were among the key reasons why global mobile phone shipments dipped minus 1 percent annually to reach 372.7 million units in Q1 2013,” said Strategy Analytics senior analyst Neil Shah. “Fuelled by robust demand for its popular Galaxy portfolio, Samsung was the star performer, shipping 106.6 million mobile phones worldwide and capturing a record 29 percent marketshare to solidify its first-place lead.”

“Nokia’s global mobile phone shipments fell 25 percent from 82.7 million units in Q1 2012 to 61.9 million in Q1 2013,” Strategy Analytics’ senior director Neil Mawston added. “Weak Symbian smartphone volumes and lackluster feature phone demand caused Nokia’s shrinkage. Nonetheless, Nokia remains the world’s second largest mobile phone vendor by volume, and if it can expand aggressively its fast-growing Lumia and Asha ranges this year, then there is still potential for Nokia’s position to stabilize or recover.”

Behind Apple, Strategy Analytics said LG shipped an estimated 16.2 million mobile phones in the first quarter to take 4.3% of the market, and ZTE rounded out the top-5 with 13 million phones shipped, good for 3.5% of the global market.

Rival research firm IDC painted a similar picture of the top-5 mobile vendors last quarter, but the numbers vary slightly. According to its estimates, Samsung shipped 115 million phones for 27.5% of the global market, Nokia shipped 61.9 million for a 14.8% share, and Apple’s 37.4 million iPhones accounted for just 8.9% of the global cell phone market. LG shipped an estimated 15.4 million phones for 3.7% of the market according to IDC, and ZTE’s 13.5 million units shipped were good for a 3.2% share.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.