Samsung wins Gold, Nokia ‘Silver’, Apple ‘Bronze’: Galaxy maker powers ahead in the mobile race, leaving rivals for dust.

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As global phone sales slumped by -2.3%, Samsung has been crowned the mobile leader, shipping over 90.4m phones – both ‘dumb’ and smartphones like the new Galaxy S III in Q2, according to analyst Garner.

In fact, the Korean brand soared a massive 29.5% in the second quarter compared to Q211- driven by record sales of Galaxy smartphones, in particular its breakthrough S3 which was released earlier this year.

Smarties now account for half of all Samsung mobiles sold, over 45m, while consumer demand for the Apple iPhone weakened 13% from the first quarter, but still grew almost 50% year on year.

“Samsung and Apple continued to dominate the smartphone market, together taking about half the market share. No other smartphone vendors had share close to 10 percent,” said Anshul Gupta, research analyst at Gartner.

“In the race to be top smartphone manufacturer in 2012, Samsung has consistently increased its lead over Apple, and its open OS market share increased to one-and-a-half times that of Apple in the second quarter of 2012.”

Demand for the new Galaxy was so strong, it even exceeded Samsung’s own expectations, with a reported 10 m sales reached in two months after release.

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“The Galaxy S3 was the best-selling Android product in the quarter and could have been higher but for product shortages,” Gartner noted in its latest research.

Samsung’s (21.6%) share of the phone market confirms its extended lead over arch rivals Nokia (19.9%) and No.3 phone maker Apple (6.9%), good news especially since it’s currently locked in a patents battle with the iPhone maker. 

And Apple may be in for another weaker-than-usual quarter in Q3, depending on the launch date of the new iPhone, rumored to be September.


But Samsung’s Galaxies may not rule the roost for the rest of the year, either as analysts predict demand for smartphones in H2 to be driven by the new iPhone 5 which will be “the greatest upgrade opportunity yet” for iPhone 4 owners and others with it expected to have a larger screen, be thinner and lighter.

However smartphone sales drove the phone market overall, growing 42.7% and accounted for over one third of all mobiles sold, while sales of feature or “dumb” phones fell.

Nokia sales of feature phone actually grew quarter-on-quarter but Lumia smartphones “continue to struggle to find a place in consumers’ minds as a replacement for Android.”

“Declining smartphone sales is worsening Nokia’s overall position, as it had already lost the No. 1 position to Samsung in the previous quarter and is facing reduced profitability due to continuous declining sales of premium smartphones,” said Mr. Gupta.

Chinese brands like ZTE, Huawei as well as LG, HTC and Motorola all grew marketshare and made it into the top 10 phone brands although former stalwart BlackBerry just managed to make it to the top 10.

On the OS front, Android extended its lead with an increase of 20.7% market share in Q2, while Apple’s iOS fell 3.7% quarter on quarter, as users postponed their upgrade in anticipation of the iPhone 5.

“The challenging economic environment and users postponing upgrades to take advantage of high-profile device launches and promotions available later in the year slowed demand across markets,” said Gartner.

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