Samsung has become the world's largest cell phone maker in Q1 2012, overtaking Nokia for the first time.
Apple, however, remained the largest smartphone manufacturer. Market research firm IHS estimates that Samsung shipped about 92 million phones in the first quarter, while Nokia shipped only 83 million units. Shipments for both companies declined sequentially from Q4 2011, but Samsung had a much softer landing with a decrease of 13 percent than Nokia, which was hit with a 27 percent decline.
Apple won the quarter for smartphones with 35 million units for the quarter, IHS said. Samsung was a close second with 32 million phones, followed by Nokia with 12 million and RIM with 11 million units. Apple's shipments fell just 5 percent from Q4, while Samsung dropped 11 percent, Nokia 39 percent and RIM 21 percent.
“With cellphones now accounting for more than 40 percent of Samsung’s overall revenue, it’s clear that the company’s continued investments in smartphone hardware and software R&D are paying off,” said Wayne Lam, a senior analyst at IHS. “The company is not only cashing in on the market’s shift to smartphones, but is also succeeding in other cellphone product categories, allowing it to capture the overall market lead. What makes Samsung’s performance even more impressive is that the company’s latest Galaxy S III handset has yet to be launched, with shipments set to start in May. This indicates Samsung is likely to make further progress in market share in 2012.”
Samsung reported Q1 revenues of $40.0 billion as well as a net profit of $4.5 billion, up 82 percent from Q1 2011. The company said that its mobile sales jumped by 86 percent to $16.7 billion from the year-ago quarter.