Apple vs Samsung smartphone sales: iPhone wins Q4 2012 in the USA, Galaxy handsets take the year

by: Chris SmithFebruary 1, 2013

galaxy s3 vs iphone5

The smartphone business is largely dominated by Android and iOS, and we have more and more reports detailing the supremacy of these two rivaling mobile platforms in the recently ended quarter.

Today we’re looking at smartphone shippments in the USA for Q4 2012, or the busy Christmas shopping-spree season, courtesy of Strategy Analytics. Android and iOS are again found to be the winners, although when it comes to sales it’s Apple and Samsung that are taking most of the profits, with Google not (yet?) able to compete with either of them.

The research company reveals that it’s Apple that took the number one position in the fourth quarter of the past year, shipping 17.7 million iPhones during the period. Samsung came in second with 16.8 million smartphones (we assume most of them were running Android), followed from the distance by LG with 4.7 million sales. It’s worth mentioning that both Apple and Samsung increased their respective smartphone shipments for the period compared with Q4 2011, while LG shipped 2.2 million less than the previous year.


However, when looking at the whole year, it’s Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone sales that take the number one position with 53 million smartphone shipments, with the iPhone falling behind in second position, with 43.7 million. LG is third at 20.5 million for the same period, while everyone else accounts for 12.8 million in Q4 2012 and 49.7 million for the year. Again, we’ll notice that overall, Samsung and Apple increased the total number of smartphone sold during the Christmas season compared to Q4 2011 – with the latter showing a major increase compared to Samsung’s – while LG sold 10 million smartphone less than in the previous year. “Others” have also sold a lot less handsets in 2012 than in the previous year (74.3 million).

Looking at mobile phone marketshare for the same region, Strategy Analytics found Apple topping the charts with 34%, followed by Samsung (32.3%) and LG (9%). For the whole year Samsung is again the winner with 31.8% market share, with Apple in second place (26.2%) and LG in third position (12.3%).

Compared to Q4 2011, the U.S. smartphone market has grown 3.6% in Q4 2012, but dropped 10.7% for the whole year.

What smartphone did you buy last Christmas?

  • juseph

    This is not smartphone only but all mobile phones….

    • kascollet

      Absolutely. Please correct the article !
      This US market is really one of a kind. How come Apple products sell so well over there ?


        • kascollet

          Ha ! You made my day :-)

  • Reginald Spence II

    If Google had told LG to make enough N4’s, they wouldn’t have sold 10 million less than last year…

  • carlisimo

    Apple’s growth is rather stunning.

  • mohdamr1

    There are still lots of I sheep out there, but they are thankfully decreasing in number and moving away from their big sheep herd. We welcome all ex-sheep to the new awesome android world !

    • suprdevil

      Haha! Let’s see, without the iphone and iPad and iOS to rip off, Samsung would probably be teetering on bankruptcy by now. And Fandroids wouldn’t even exist if Google didn’t have anyone to steal from lol! You’d all still be trying to convince yourself Vista and the Zune is where it’s at… I guess it all depends on which kool aid you’re drinking these days.

      • Marvin Nakajima

        I’m going to assume you mean Samsung Mobile.. Samsung is a HUGE company and unlike Apple will have a lot more stability even after losing a handful of products. If Apple didn’t have the iPhone the market would have taken a bit longer to reach where it is today, but I doubt it would have never got there.