Smartphone shipments grew 35 per cent annually to reach nearly 162 million units in the third quarter of 2012, according to new data from research firm Strategy Analytics.
IDC reported similar numbers, estimating that smartphone vendors shipped 179.7 million units during the third quarter, up from 123.7 million units last year for 45.3 per cent year-over-year growth.
Samsung was the undisputed star of the market, shipping a record 56.9 million smartphones worldwide during the third quarter — the largest number of units ever shipped by a smartphone vendor in a single quarter — to capture a 35 per cent global share, Strategy Analytics said. Apple came in second, shipping 26.9 million smartphones worldwide to nab a 17 percent market share.
"Despite tough competition in stores and courtrooms, Samsung continued to deliver numerous hit models, from the high-end Galaxy Note phablet to the mass-market Galaxy Y," Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement. "Apple had a solid quarter in the important United States market and this helped to strengthen its global performance."
The success of Samsung and Apple was not a good thing for Nokia, which slipped from the top three global smartphone rankings "for the first time in history," Neil Shah, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement. Nokia shipped 6.3 million smartphones worldwide, grabbing a 4 per cent market share in the third quarter, slipping from 16.8 million units and 14 per cent share a year ago.
"Nokia will need to ramp up sharply its Windows Phone volumes if it wants to recapture a top-three smartphone position in the next one to two quarters," Shah added.
ICD reported that Nokia was replaced by Blackberry maker Research in Motion. Nokia's transition from Symbian to Windows Phone-powered smartphones "has left ample opportunity for rivals to steal share away from Nokia over the past 18 months," Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC, said in a statement. Even so, there is still room in the market for Nokia and other vendors to find success, he added.
Meanwhile, the larger worldwide mobile phone market grew by 2.4 per cent over the last year, with vendors shipping a total of 444.5 million mobile phones during the period, compared to 434.1 million units last year, IDC said. The firm expects long-term mobile phone and smartphone shipments to grow even further thanks to the important role mobile phones play in people's lives.
"At the heart of mobility is communication," Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's mobile phone team, said in a statement. "Mobile phones and smartphones play a critical role in keeping people connected, regardless of location. In addition, their utility beyond communication — productivity, entertainment, and multimedia — continues to add to their value."