Nokia’s 14 years reign as top cellphone brand comes to an end as Samsung takes the lead, according to a new report. The preliminary forecast of top 5 cellphone handset OEMs in 2012 (ranked by global unit shipments) shows that the Korean company is expected to capture 29% of these global unit shipments (up from 24% last year), thus obtaining the top rank as the IHS iSuppli Mobile and Wireless Communications Service said in a release.
Nokia’s share will drop to 24% in 2012 from 30% in 2011. Apple ranks third and accounts for 10% of the global unit shipments, that’s up from 7% last year. ZTE came in fourth with 6% (same as in the previous year), while LG ranked fifth with 4% in 2012 (down from 6% in 2011).
“The competitive reality of the cellphone market in 2012 was ‘live by the smartphone; die by the smartphone,’” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. “Smartphones represent the fastest-growing segment of the cellphone market—and will account for nearly half of all wireless handset shipments for all of 2012. Samsung’s successes and Nokia’s struggles in the cellphone market this year were determined entirely by the two companies’ divergent fortunes in the smartphone sector.”
The same release mentions that Samsung’s success “has been built on its ‘fast follower’ strategy for design and manufacturing”, while Nokia had some issues as it switched to Windows OS, which lead to a decline in shipments. (Let’s not forget that Nokia sold its headquarters recently.)
The predicted trend for 2013 is that smartphones will go mainstream, IHS expecting a penetration of 56%. “This event will mark a significant tipping point in the mobile handset market, as the smartphone takes a dominant position in the industry.”
2013 will definitely be an interesting year as there are still some lawsuits over patents between Samsung and Apple (while Apple partnered with HTC) and as companies struggle to offer better and more versatile smartphones. Perhaps we’ll also see some more affordable prices for these devices (which will also increase penetration rate for smartphones).