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July 27, 2012
The Samsung Galaxy S III vs Apple iPhone sales war isn’t much of a battle right now. For Q2 2012 smartphone sales, Samsung doubled Apple’s performance, according to research reports — but the smartphone market might be slowing down.
Samsung opened up its large lead driven largely by 10 million shipments in June alone of its Galaxy S III, and, while impressive, took place while consumers wait for the iPhone 5, expected sometime this fall. That’s like winning when the other team’s best player isn’t on the field — sure, it counts, just not as much.
Juniper Research estimated Samsung shipped 52.1 million units for Q2 2012, IDC pegged Samsung at 50.2 million and Strategy Analytics said the Korean vendor came in at 50.5 million, while all slotted Apple’s shipment totals at 26 million for the period. Together, the two vendors shipped about half of all smartphones worldwide during the quarter.
By eclipsing the 50 million-mark for a quarter’s shipments, Samsung blew away prior smartphone quarterly shipment records. It will be interesting to see how the company does head-to-head against the iPhone 5, but that’s for another day.
According to IDC, the overall mobile phone market skipped upward 1 percent year-over-year in Q2 2012 to 406 million units. Smartphone shipments rose 42 percent to 153.9 million units for the period, a point less than the researcher’s forecast.
“Samsung and Apple have quickly become the global smartphone heavyweights though both employ somewhat different approaches to the market,” said Kevin Restivo, IDC senior research analyst.
“Samsung employs a ‘shotgun’ strategy wherein many models are created that cover a wide range of market segments. Apple, in contrast, offers a small number of high-profile models. While both companies have expanded their geographic presence in pursuit of market share, the two companies will inevitably come into greater conflict as both try to generate additional gains,” he said.
The research reports raised some questions about the market’s growth rate going forward. IDC said that Q2 2012 was the lowest growth rate since Q4 2009 while, by Strategy Analytics’ figuring, the quarter’s performance represented the smartphone industry’s slowest growth rate since the third quarter of 2009.
While reports chalked up the sluggish performance to the unsettled global economy, maturing markets and consumers waiting on the iPhone 5, the question remains as to whether things will improve or worldwide economic misery will continue to weigh down smartphone sales.
Considering the fact that smartphones command such a primary role in communications, you kind of have to figure that the market will continue to percolate upward for years to come.
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