Despite a dip of 1.5 per cent in the worldwide mobile phone market during the first quarter of 2012, it's no real surprise to hear that the smartphone market is continuing to grow, experiencing a 42.5 per cent increase year over year in the same period.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), vendors shipped 398.4 million units in the first quarter of 2012 compared to 404.3 million units during the first quarter of 2011. The smartphone market saw 114.9 million smartphones shipped in Q1 2012 in comparison to 101.7 million units in Q1 2011.
Samsung is the biggest winner of 2012 so far after it claimed top spot with a 29.1 per cent global market share, a massive jump from the 11.3 per cent share it had during the Q1 2011. This isn't entirely surprising when you consider that Samsung increased its unit shipment from 11.5 million to 42.2 million, the largest increase by any of the major manufacturers. Its closest competitor, Apple, has a 24.2 per cent market share in Q1 2012 having increased from 18.3 per cent the year previously. Apple increased the number of units shipped from 18.6 million to 35.1 million, making them and Samsung the only manufacturers to have increased the number of units.
These gains for Samsung and Apple come at the expense of its competitors, the most noticeable fall came from Nokia who once had a 23.8 per cent market share during Q1 2011, plummeted down to 8.2 per cent in Q1 2012. It's a significant fall from grace for what was the biggest player in mobile at one point and places further pressure on their partnership with Windows Phone to reverse the trend. Other companies that lost out include RIM with a fall from 13.6 per cent to 6.7 per cent and HTC which fell from 8.9 per cent to 4.8 per cent.
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This will be worrying news for the three companies, who have decreased the number of units shipped worldwide, but perhaps the company with the greatest problems is RIM. Nokia and HTC have the excuse of releasing radically different handsets to reverse their fortunes. RIM on the other hand has stumbled from one problem to another, the latest was their flash mob campaign against Apple which many assumed was Samsung's doing until they revealed it today. Nokia and HTC have more reasons to be optimistic, but with Samsung set to announce the Galaxy S III this week and Apple rumoured to reveal a new handset later this year, it's hard to tell whether their efforts will be enough to improve their current position.