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Asian firms top smartphone brands, Samsung still #1

Market analytics indicate that Samsung still tops smartphone sales in Q3 2012, with Apple following behind. Some interesting insights inside.
November 9, 2012
Samsung Galaxy S3 still leads the pack in terms of sales.

The world smartphone market is a fast evolving one, with some companies being at the top one day and simply out of the picture the next. In a recent collection of global mobile statistics, Samsung has (again) come out on top, way above its closest competitors Apple and Huawei. But what’s even more interesting here is that Asian firms now seem to dominate this industry, having edged out the rest of the world in terms of volume.

Tomi Ahonen of The Community Dominates blog does a regular compilation of data from various analytics firms, including Gartner, Canalys and Strategy Analytics. The conclusion is that the smartphone pie is getting bigger and bigger, with some brands taking an increasing slice. As of third quarter of 2003, ranking is as follows (figures are in millions):

  1. Samsung – 56.2
  2. Apple – 26.9
  3. Huawei – 16.0
  4. Sony – 8.8
  5. ZTE – 8.0
  6. HTC – 7.8
  7. RIM – 7.4
  8. LG – 7.2
  9. Lenovo – 7.0
  10. Nokia – 6.3

Here are some interesting takeaways:

Seven out of the 10 top smartphone sellers in Q3 2012 are from Asia. Only three — namely Apple, Nokia and RIM — are not brands based in the region. This underscores the importance of this region in the worldwide smartphone market. In particular, China is a booming market for mobile phones, and local brands like Huawei, HTC and Lenovo are making headway into this market and its huge demand for mobile devices.

Samsung dominates the market. Samsung’s share is bigger than its three runners-up combined. As with earlier market analysis, this is likely due to Samsung’s dominance in the mobile phone vertical, ranging from low-end devices to high-end smartphones and phablets. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy S3 was the best-selling smartphone in Q3 2012, far outselling its competitors.

Brands are moving in and out. As far as this list is concerned, this is the first quarter in which Chinese manufacturer Lenovo has joined the top 10 brands in terms of volume. Motorola Mobility has exited from the top 10. Meanwhile, Nokia was rated at #3 in Q2 of 2012, and risks to be booted out of the list since it’s now #10. But we have yet to see whether this is the case with Nokia’s recent launch of Windows Phone 8 powered smartphones.

There are unexpected movements. Sony is on the rise, from its previous #7 spot to its current fourth place. Then again, there are also expected results, such as Samsung keeping its #1 spot, and Apple staying at #2.

Ahonen says this is not yet the entire picture, so he cannot give percentage market shares for each of the brands listed. There are also other brands on the rise, such as Chinese brand Coolpad, which might likewise make a dent on the market share of the current leaders.

What does the future hold for smartphone makers? Will the trends be the same in the coming months and years?