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Apple and Samsung Own 55% of the Global Smartphone Market, 90% of the Profits

by Todd Haselton | June 15, 2012June 15, 2012 9:30 am PDT

Samsung Galaxy S III vs. iPhone 4S

Apple and Samsung own 55% of the global smartphone market according to a new ABI Research report, which also said that the two firms also pull in 90% of the market’s profits. We can’t say we’re too surprised by these results, especially considering the sheer number of smartphones Samsung pumps out each year to various markets and the continued success of the iPhone. ABI Research said that smartphone shipments jumped 41% year-on-year to 144.6 million units shipped as of March of this year.

Samsung shipped 43 million units during the first quarter of 2012 followed by Apple which shipped 35 million units. No other phone maker even came close to those two firms. Nokia shipped 11.9 million units, RIM shipped 11.1 million units, Sony shipped 7 million smartphones, Huawei shipped 6.8 million, and ZTE shipped 4.9 million smartphones. China will be a key growth area for any smartphone maker looking to boost share. “As the smartphone markets of North America and Western Europe pass 50% penetration, smartphone OEMs should seek growth in key markets, such as China, which continues to show strong shipment growth of over 80%,” ZTE said.

“As Nokia’s market share in China plummets, the competition to fill this power vacuum has the potential to make or break smartphone OEMs currently struggling with profitability and differentiation,” adds Jeff Orr, practice director, devices, applications & content.

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Apple and Samsung Garner 50% of Global Smartphone Market and 90% of Its Profits

NEW YORK – June 15, 2012

​Although smartphone shipments grew 41% year-over-year to 144.6 million as of the quarter ending March 2012, many smartphone OEMs are not enjoying the benefits of a rapidly expanding market. Samsung and Apple captured 55% of global smartphone shipments in 1Q’2012 and over 90% of the market’s profits.  The question remains: can anyone break away to become a strong third in this market?

Of the top ten smartphone OEMs, only Samsung and Sony experienced sequential growth in shipments over 4Q’2011. Nokia witnessed a 40% sequential decline in shipments and may soon be passed by ailing RIM in shipments despite the BlackBerry maker’s 20% sequential decline in shipments. “At this point in the year, Nokia will have to grow its Windows Phone business 5000% in 2012 just to offset its declines in Symbian shipments,” says Michael Morgan, senior analyst, devices, applications & content.
Table: Select Smartphone Vendor Shipments, 1Q’2012
(Millions of units)
Apple
35
Huawei
6.8
Nokia
11.9
RIM
11.1
Samsung
43
Sony
7
ZTE
4.9
Source: ABI Research
As the smartphone markets of North America and Western Europe pass 50% penetration, smartphone OEMs should seek growth in key markets, such as China, which continues to show strong shipment growth of over 80%.
Despite the shipment growth opportunities that China offers, smartphone OEMs will have to contend with local vendors ZTE and Huawei whose cost structures are tailored to deliver smartphones and homologated content ecosystems at the lower price points needed to drive growth across the country. “As Nokia’s market share in China plummets, the competition to fill this power vacuum has the potential to make or break smartphone OEMs currently struggling with profitability and differentiation,” adds Jeff Orr, practice director, devices, applications & content.

ABI Research’s “Smartphone Market Data” provides quarterly global and regional data for smartphone operating systems, ASPs, vendor market shares, revenues, air interface protocols, and technology attach rates.

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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