Apple and Samsung Overtake Nokia in Smartphone Sales in Q2

Apple and Samsung ended struggling Nokia’s 15-year reign at the top of the smartphone sales rankings in the second quarter, researchers said on Friday.

Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics both sold more smartphones than Nokia in the second quarter, although Finnish mobile phone maker still sold most phones overall, market researcher Strategy Analytics said Friday. Photo: Maciej Dakowicz/Flickr

Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics both sold more smartphones than Nokia in the second quarter, although Finnish mobile phone maker still sold most phones overall, market researcher Strategy Analytics said on Friday.

Nokia has dominated the smartphone market ever since its 1996 launch of the Communicator model, but competition from its two nearest rivals and a slump in its own sales sent it straight from first to third place in the three months to June as growth in the sector starts to slow.

Apple, meanwhile, more than doubled its shipments to a record 20.3 million iPhones for the quarter, up from just 8.4 million a year earlier, despite the fact that its iPhone 4 model is now more than a year old.

Strategy Analytics, a research company based in Boston, estimated smartphone market volume grew 76 percent from a year ago in the second quarter. ABI Research was somewhat more cautious estimating market grew 62 percent.

Apple unveiled its sales last week, but on Friday analysts also estimated Samsung sold 19.2 million smartphones in the quarter, well ahead of Nokia’s 16.7 million as it was able to benefit from booming demand with smartphones using Google’s Android software.

“Samsung’s Galaxy portfolio has proven popular, especially the high-tier S2 Android model,” said Neil Mawston, analyst at Strategy Analytics.”

For Samsung, the increase was even more dramatic, moving from just 3.1 million smartphones shipped in the second quarter of 2010 to 19.2 million in the second quarter this year.

That puts Apple top of the smartphone market, with an 18.5 percent share, up from second place with 13.5 percent a year earlier.

Samsung is now second, with 17.5 percent, up from a third-placed 5 percent a year earlier, while Nokia’s share has plummeted to 15.2 percent, from 38.1 percent a year earlier.

Other manufacturers have seen their share of the smartphone market rise from 43.4 percent to 48.9 percent, Strategy Analytics said.

These numbers show Google Inc.’s Android is gaining ground on Apple in smartphones as Nokia, which is turning to Microsoft Corp. for software support, struggles to keep up with the pace.

“Samsung’s Android portfolio is selling strongly in most regions,” said Mawston, a London-based analyst at Strategy Analytics.

“Samsung stands a reasonable chance of capturing the top spot on a quarterly basis if it can continue expanding its Android portfolio across high-growth markets like China and Brazil. Samsung and Apple will be at similar levels in smartphones by the end of the year.”

Growth on the overall cellphone market slowed too in the April-June period, as sales of basic phone models dropped for the first time in seven quarters due to consumers reining in spending, research firm IDC said on Friday.

IDC said strong smartphone demand boosted the market to still grow 11.3 percent from a year ago to 365.4 million phones, but this was a clear slowdown from the 16.8 percent growth seen in the previous quarter.

IDC said sales of simpler so-called feature phones fell 4 percent from a year ago due to conservative spending and continued shift to smartphones, most visible in developed markets, such as the United States, Japan and Western Europe.

“The shrinking feature phone market is having the greatest impact on some of the world’s largest suppliers of mobile phones,” analyst Kevin Restivo said in a statement.

“Stalwarts such as Nokia are losing share in the feature phone category to low-cost suppliers such as Micromax, TCL-Alcatel and Huawei.”

Struggling Nokia, still the world’s largest phone maker by volume, saw its phone sales shrinking 20 percent from a year ago. This helped the South Korean company to close the gap to the Finnish firm in the overall cellphone market to the lowest level ever.

Samsung’s sales are accelerating after it began selling the Galaxy S II, a successor to its best-selling Android device introduced last year to counter Apple.

Samsung planned to roll out the model in 120 countries through 140 operators from May, the company said in April. The latest Galaxy handset went on sale last week in five cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai, as the company seeks to make a push into the world’s largest market for mobile phones.

The latest 4.27-inch Galaxy phone, unveiled in February, helped Samsung more than double operating profit at its mobile phone business in the second quarter, according to five analysts polled by Bloomberg News.

Apple reported net income that beat estimates on July 19, lifted by record sales of iPhones and iPads. In contrast, Nokia reported its first quarterly loss since 2009 as the Finnish company struggles to sell handsets based on its 10-year-old Symbian software.

Apple Inc. plans to release its next-gen iPhone 5 in U.S. on September 5th that boasts a stronger chip for processing data and a more advanced camera, two people familiar with the product said last month. [via Reuters and PC World]

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