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Samsung Takes the Lead in Smartphone Shipments while Apple Makes More Money

by Sean P. Aune | May 1, 2012May 1, 2012 8:45 am PST

Godzilla - Apple vs Samsung

Samsung has once again taken the lead in the number of devices it ships, but it just can’t seem to catch Apple in the money race.

In the ongoing battle for smartphone market dominance, Samsung once again took the lead in the first quarter of the year for shipments with 46.9 million devices going out over the world.  Meanwhile, Apple shipped 35.1 million, but it retained the title for the most revenue with $22.7 billion ($29.3 billion if you include the iPad) compared to Samsung’s $17 billion.  With or without the inclusion of the market leading tablet from Apple, it was a pretty hefty defeat when it came to the financial side of the equation.

Juniper Research, who put together the data, said that while it was evident that flagship devices such as the Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note contributed to the overall shipment volume, the entry into economical price points with the Galaxy Y definitely helped the company take the lead.  Sequentially, the first quarter of the year was up 46 percent over the fourth quarter of 2011, the all important holiday shopping season, so it would seem that Samsung is about to lock down the race for shipment volumes.

With the Galaxy S III expected to debut this week in London, and reports that more than 10 million units have been pre-ordered by carriers, it seems unlikely that this trend is going to change any time soon.

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Samsung No.1 Smartphone Brand Again in Q1, But Apple Still Making More Money says Juniper Research

  • Samsung defies logic with post-holiday q-o-q growth
  • Apple’s shipments fall only marginally due to iPhone mix
  • iPhone revenues continue to top the charts

HAMPSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM – 1st May 2012: Data from leading mobile analyst firm Juniper Research shows Samsung and Apple trading places once again in the smartphone market, in what is increasingly becoming a two-horse race. In the first quarter of 2012, the company estimates that nearly 60% of the 139 million smartphones shipped worldwide carried either the Apple (35.1 million) or Samsung (46.9 million) brand – up from 46% in the last three months of 2011. While Apple and Samsung have taken it in turns to lead the smartphone market over the last four quarters, it seems as if Samsung may now have established a firm lead in this space – shipping 11.8 million more units that the Cupertino, California company in Q1.

Samsung Tops Sales, But Apple leads in Revenue

With the iPhone launch craze now past, the analyst firm believes Samsung may hold onto its lead next quarter, but as Daniel Ashdown, Research Analyst with Juniper Research notes: “Apple’s revenues from its ‘mobile division’ continues to remain significantly higher than Samsung’s, even when you take into account the latter’s featurephones”. Apple’s iPhone revenue was $22.7 billion in Q1 ($29.3 billion including the iPad), compared with Samsung’s KRW18.9 trillion (~$17.0 billion) from its entire mobile division. While flagship devices, the Samsung Galaxy SII and Galaxy Note contribute substantial unit volumes, the company’s rise to top spot is evidence of the smartphone’s entry into mass market price points with products like the Galaxy Y.

Rich-Pickings Still to be had for HTC, Nokia and RIM

HTC – who have not released shipment volumes for the last two quarters – appears to be following Nokia and RIM in taking-stock of where it’s best strategy lies. Nokia’s Lumia launches do not appear to have kick-started a rival yet, with the Finnish company shipping just 11.9 million smart devices in the first quarter – less than half the number it shipped in the same period a year previous. RIM’s recent results – which run to a different financial schedule – nevertheless hint at continuing problems for the Canadian firm. However, with Juniper forecasting that smartphone shipments will nearly double over the next five years – from nearly 600 million in 2012 to 1.1 billion by 2017 – there are still plenty of opportunities for other players to make gains in this market.

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

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Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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