A recent analysis of the smartphone market in 2012 found that Android dominated with over two-thirds of total smartphone shipments. The wide variety of Android devices ensures that the mobile OS ends up in the hands of more people. Another analysis, however, has found that Apple is still king when you take individual smartphone model shipments into account.
According to numbers released by Strategy Analytics this morning, the firm estimates that the iPhone 5 was king of individual smartphone shipments and marketshare in the fourth quarter. The firm estimates that the iPhone 5 sold 27.4 million units in the fourth quarter for 12.6 percent of the market. The iPhone 4S came in second with 17.4 million units for 8 percent of the market.
It wasn’t just purely an Apple game as Samsung’s Galaxy S3 came in third place with 15.4 million units shipped in the fourth quarter for 7.1 percent of the market. What’s interesting is that the Galaxy S3 was beating out both the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5 in the third quarter, but lost out to both in the fourth quarter. In fact, both the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S saw growth while the Galaxy S3 saw a decline.
So, why is the Galaxy S3 starting to see decreased demand? Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, says that the S3’s global demand has peaked:
“Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S together accounted for 1 in 5 of all smartphones shipped worldwide in Q4 2012. This was an impressive performance, given the iPhone portfolio’s premium pricing. We estimate Samsung’s Galaxy S3 was the world’s third best-selling smartphone model and it shipped 15.4 million units globally, capturing 7 percent share in the fourth quarter of 2012. Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has long proven wildly popular with consumers and operators across North America, Europe and Asia. However, global demand for the Galaxy S3 appears to have peaked and Samsung will surely be keen to introduce its rumored Galaxy S4 upgrade in the coming weeks to fight back against Apple’s popular iPhone range.”
The iPhone 5 and 4S certainly benefitted from the holiday shopping season in quarter four, but Neil Shah, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, thinks Apple’s success can be attributed to a few other factors as well. For one, he cites “generous operator subsidies” as one reason for the devices’ combined success, but also the fact that the iPhone is available in more places around the world compared to Samsung’s flagship product.
It’s worth nothing that Apple’s dominance is a phase and Samsung is poised to take back the lead when it introduces the Galaxy S4 in a few months. Some reports peg it for a March reveal and an April launch. Apple will then undoubtedly release the iPhone 5S later this year. The device will push Apple to the top yet again. It’s all part of the cyclical nature of popular consumer technology.