A study, published by research firm IDC, shows that in the first quarter of 2012 Samsung shipped over 42 million smartphones, giving the Korean manufacturer a 29.1% global market share. Apple trail just behind with 35 million iPhones shipped in the same period, securing 24.2% of market share in the process.
The results show huge year-on-year growth for both brands, with increases of 267% and 88.7% for Samsung and Apple respectively. While the continued success of the iPhone 4S is clearly responsible for the Cupertino company’s positive figures, the strong numbers for Samsung are in large part due to the phenomenal demand for both the Galaxy S II handset and the Galaxy Note smartphone-tablet hybrid.
Ramon Llamas, a senior research analyst with IDC, said in a statement: “The race between Apple and Samsung remained tight during the quarter, even as both companies posted growth in key areas.
“Apple launched its popular iPhone 4S in additional key markets, most notably in China, and Samsung experienced continued success from its Galaxy Note smartphone/tablet and other Galaxy smartphones.”
Alongside the battle for market share, the continued legal wrangling between Apple and Samsung has become something of a running joke within the technology world, reaching the point where the two companies are to be literally forced by a courtroom judge into a room together to sort out their differences. However, it is not too difficult to surmise that the IDC research results will only push the brands into an even more intense dogfight as the battle for revenue joins the numerous patent arguments currently being dragged through European and US courtrooms.
Other manufacturers did not fare so well in the study, with Nokia in particular showing a 50% fall in year-on-year shipments. Similarly, RIM appears to be in an unenviable position with a decline of almost 30% and HTC saw a fall of 23.3%.
However, a recent study from Juniper Research suggested that there is still huge growth to come in the smartphone sector, with total shipments in 2017 predicted to hit an astounding 1.1 billion devices. Therefore it is feasible to suggest that Nokia and RIM could potentially see an increase in market share in the coming years if they are able to innovate and bring exciting products to market. Indeed, the recent BB 10 OS showcases at this year’s BlackBerry World conference point towards an intriguing future for the Canadian manufacturer.
Relative newcomers such as Huawei, ZTE and LG also look set to become big hitters in the smartphone arena. Huawei impressed at this year’s CES, unveiling the world’s slimmest smartphone in the Ascend P1 S and also the extremely well-specced Ascend D1 Q made an appearance at MWC. LG similarly looks to be taking aim at the top-end of the market with both the Optimus 4X HD and Optimus L7 handsets.
With a rapidly growing market and incredibly fast-paced innovation across the board, it looks set to be a very interesting few years in the world of smartphones.