Strong sales of Galaxy S3 help extend Samsung’s lead over Apple in smartphone market

By Daniel Ashdown

Data from leading mobile analyst firm Juniper Research shows Samsung has taken a sizeable lead in the smartphone market in terms of unit shipments. In the second quarter of 2012, the company estimates Samsung shipped 52.1 million smartphones, just over double the number shipped by its leading rival, Apple – 26.0 million. The Korea-based company has also doubled its lead over Apple quarter-on-quarter, with its flagship Galaxy S3 playing a key role, having achieved sales of 10 million in June. However, with consumers waiting for the next iPhone expected later in the year, Apple will undoubtedly narrow the gap.

Samsung’s Recipe for Success

While the Galaxy S3 has been a phenomenal success, Samsung has leveraged its global brand strength and the popularity of the Android OS to drive sales of smartphones in all price tiers. RIM (with 7.4 million smartphones shipped in Q2) continues to struggle to cope with the transition to the touchscreen era and an OS which lacks the user base to attract developers, and Nokia (10.2 million) is yet to show any clear indication it is benefitting from the switch to Windows Phone 7, with its hopes riding on Windows 8.

Meanwhile Samsung’s Android competitors continue to fall short, with the resources needed to compete with Samsung’s marketing push halting HTC’s early promise (11.6 million) and Motorola, distracted by the Google acquisition, lacking a strong presence in Western Europe. The company believes that Sony has the strongest potential. Sony should be doing better: it, like Samsung, has a global name and the Xperia brand is well-established but its marketing and products have been disappointing so far.

Apple Needs Another Siri to Speak-Up

With Samsung’s Galaxy products hitting all price points, and another smash hit in the flagship Galaxy S range, Apple has extended its back catalogue, continuing to sell legacy iPhones at lower price points. While the iPhone 4S added a new killer feature, Siri, the next iPhone will need something of a similar magnitude, particularly if the device retains the 3.5-inch display size, which is now dwarfed by the Galaxy S3 (4.8-inch) and other high-end smartphones. Overall, the smartphone market continues to go from strength-to-strength, with the analyst firm estimating that 132.9 million shipped in Q2 2012 – up from 105.2 million a year ago.

The whitepaper ‘The Smartphone Opportunity’, and further details of Juniper’s report, ‘Smartphone Evolution Strategies: Premium, Standard & Economy Markets 2011-2016′ are available at http://www.juniperresearch.com.

About the author

Daniel Ashdown is Research Analyst at Juniper Research. Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.

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