Samsung and Apple have more than doubled their combined market share in the global mobile phone market, with the manufacturers shipping almost half of the world's smartphones in the second quarter of 2012, according to market-research firm IDC.
Taking advantage of Apple's schedule that currently brings new devices only in the fall, Samsung launched its flagship Galaxy S III, of which the company is said to have already sold 10 million units. While Apple offers a small number of high-profile products, Samsung employs a shotgun strategy, where many models are produced to cover a wide range of market segments. Despite differences in market approach, the companies proved successful in creating even more distance between them and the competition.
Samsung topped the ranks of smartphone shipments in 2Q12, with shipments of 50.2 million units and a market share of 32.6%. In addition to the popular third generation Galaxy, Samsung also experienced continued success with its smartphone/tablet hybrid, the Galaxy Note.
In second was Apple, shipping 26 million units and holding 16.9% of the market. While the Cupertino-based company posted an expected sequential decline last quarter, this activity is usual for Apple leading up to a new product release, say like the iPhone 5.
Far behind in third is Nokia, shipping 10.2 million units in 2Q12 and accounting for only 6.6% of the market. The company once again faced a transitional quarter, as demand for Symbian and MeeGo units declined.
HTC reclaimed the number four spot in the smartphone rankings, shipping 8.8 million units and holding 5.7% of the market, thanks to its relatively strong performance in the Asia/Pacific region.
Rounding out the list is ZTE, which climbed into the smartphone Top 5 for the first time thanks to shipments of its lower-cost entry-level smartphones in China. The manufacturer shipped 8.0 million units and accounted for 5.2% of the market in the second quarter.
Vendors are already looking ahead to 2013, focusing on how key markets, specifically Europe and emerging markets, will play out, according to IDC analyst Ramon Llamas. The effectiveness of recent maneuvers to shore up several countries within the Eurozone have yet to be seen, which could damper growth prospects for the mobile phone market. Yet, emerging markets will continue to be strong contributors, thanks to their size and growth trajectory, though it remains to be seen if they can offset potential declines in other countries.
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