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Samsung smartphones obliterate iPhone sales in Q2 as rivalry reaches boiling point

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:30PM EST

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Samsung (005930) has emerged as Apple’s (AAPL) top smartphone competitor and the company steamrolled its competition in the second quarter of 2012. Samsung sold 52 million smartphones into distribution channels, according to the latest report from Juniper Research. Samsung’s Q2 smartphone shipments actually doubled the 26 million smartphones that Apple shipped on the quarter, although the race is likely to grow tighter this fall once Apple releases its next-generation iPhone. Samsung’s impressive sales are also sure to add more drama to the never-ending Apple-Samsung patent soap opera, which is scheduled to head to trial in the United States next week.

Juniper found that the big boost for Samsung last quarter came from the launch of its Galaxy S III smartphone, which sold an estimated 10 million units in less than two months, or roughly the same number of total smartphones shipped by Nokia over the entire quarter.

Juniper also found that every other smartphone manufacturer is basically way, way behind the twins titans of the smartphone industry, as HTC (2498) shipped 11.6 million smartphones on the quarter, followed by Nokia (NOK) with 10.2 million smartphones shipped and RIM (RIM) with 7.4 million smartphones shipped.

Strong Sales of Galaxy S3 Helps Extend Samsung’s Lead over Apple in Smartphone Market Says Juniper

Hampshire, UK – 26th July 2012: Data from leading mobile analyst firm Juniper Research shows Samsung has taken a sizeable lead in the smartphone market in terms of unit shipments. In the second quarter of 2012, the company estimates Samsung shipped 52.1 million smartphones, just over double the number shipped by its leading rival, Apple – 26.0 million. The Korea-based company has also doubled its lead over Apple quarter-on-quarter, with its flagship Galaxy S3 playing a key role, having achieved sales of 10 million in June. However, with consumers waiting for the next iPhone expected later in the year, Apple will undoubtedly narrow the gap.

Samsung’s Recipe for Success

While the Galaxy S3 has been a phenomenal success, Samsung has leveraged its global brand strength and the popularity of the Android OS to drive sales of smartphones in all price tiers. RIM (with 7.4 million smartphones shipped in Q2) continues to struggle to cope with the transition to the touchscreen era and an OS which lacks the user base to attract developers, and Nokia (10.2 million) is yet to show any clear indication it is benefitting from the switch to Windows Phone 7, with its hopes riding on Windows 8.

Meanwhile Samsung’s Android competitors continue to fall short, with the resources needed to compete with Samsung’s marketing push halting HTC’s early promise (11.6 million) and Motorola, distracted by the Google acquisition, lacking a strong presence in Western Europe.

The company believes that Sony has the strongest potential with Daniel Ashdown, Research Analyst at Juniper Research noting: “Sony should be doing better: it, like Samsung, has a global name and the Xperia brand is well-established but its marketing and products have been disappointing so far.”

Apple Needs Another Siri to Speak-Up

With Samsung’s Galaxy products hitting all price points, and another smash hit in the flagship Galaxy S range, Apple has extended its back catalogue, continuing to sell legacy iPhones at lower price points. While the iPhone 4S added a new killer feature, Siri, the next iPhone will need something of a similar magnitude, particularly if the device retains the 3.5-inch display size, which is now dwarfed by the Galaxy S3 (4.8-inch) and other high-end smartphones. Overall, the smartphone market continues to go from strength-to-strength, with the analyst firm estimating that 132.9 million shipped in Q2 2012 – up from 105.2 million a year ago.

The whitepaper ‘The Smartphone Opportunity’, and further details of Juniper’s report, ‘Smartphone Evolution Strategies: Premium, Standard & Economy Markets 2011-2016′ are available at

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.