As you may have already expected if you follow tech trends, Samsung has passed Nokia (who is still chugging along) as the top cell phone manufacturer for 2012. However, what makes this extra significant is that it is the first time in 14 years that Samsung has been able to do this, thanks to their estimated 29% share of shipments by the end of 2012.
Nokia is estimated to drop down to 24% of the worldwide shipments, which is still pretty significant. But Samsung hasn’t just passed Nokia; they are at the top of all cell phone manufacturers, including Apple. While Samsung’s market share in 2011 exceeded Apple’s by only 1%, the gap widened in 2012 to 8% with Samsung still in the lead.
Being the top smartphone manufacturer is a big deal. Cut throat competition is rampant in the smartphone market. Also, with most people wanting to save money more than ever, they will often go for the cheapest phone. Samsung tends to be one of the lower priced high-quality smartphone manufacturers. They have a wide range of both budget smartphones for $100 and under with a contract, and higher end phones for those who want everything.
What would it take for Nokia to regain their position as the top cell phone brand? It’s not the phones that are necessarily the problem for Nokia, it’s what the phones run. Current Nokia smartphones (for the most part) run Windows Phone instead of the more popular Android. The biggest reason for the lower uptake of Windows Phone is the app and developer ecosystem. It is not as dense as the Android or iOS ecosystem, with fewer developers and lesser number of apps at consumer’s disposal.
Meanwhile, Samsung’s success could be partly attributed to its choice of ecosystem. It tapped both the developer and the app ecosystem, not to mention the open source market. While Apple’s success was its first mover advantage in this domain, it will be interesting to see both Apple’s and Samsung’s next moves. Whatever it may be, it will be a win-win and sheer delights to the customers who are all set to be wooed by new range of swanky smartphones planned to be launched in 2013.
Learning From The Past
Nokia would do well to take a lesson from a company that dug its own grave: RIM. Nokia might not have lost its position if it opened up its ecosystem and perhaps adopted Android. It is still not too late; Windows is starting to catch up, with increased developer momentum and number of apps. However, there are miles to go before it starts to regain market share.
For now, Samsung is the king. While it will have to struggle hard to maintain its top spot, with Android backing, we think it can hang on to its position in coming years.
What do you guys think? Tell us.