For the past 14(!) years, one company had remained on top of overall worldwide cell phone sales – Nokia. That changes as of this year, with Samsung jumping into the top spot, knocking Nokia down to number two. Much of Nokia’s success had come from its non-smartphone units, especially those running Symbian. Sales of those phones decreased sharply this year, as smartphones made up much more of overall cell phone sales – shipments of smartphone rose by 35.5 percent this year.
Samsung will take a 29 percent market share, with Nokia coming in at 24 percent, falling from 30 percent last year. Apple is a distant third at 10 percent, which is nonetheless impressive considering that Apple only offers one phone, as opposed to the glut of low, mid, and high end models Nokia and Samsung put out. ZTE, based in China, takes the fourth spot, while LG comes in fifth.
Samsung’s not just dominating the overall cell phone market. The South Korean company extended its one percent lead in 2011 smartphone market share over Apple significantly in 2012. Samsung took home 28 percent of the smartphone market this year, up from 20 percent last year. Apple’s share increased slightly, from 19 percent to 20 percent. Nokia took an 11 percent tumble, from 16 percent to five percent, which goes a long way in explaining why Nokia fell from the top spot in overall sales.
The concerning part is that, at five percent, Nokia is still third in smartphone sales. That means that Samsung and Apple are practically alone at the top, virtually running the show. If you’re a fan of competition (and as a consumer, you probably should be), that’s not good news. HTC and RIM, two companies struggling mightily, round out the top five, with five percent market share each.