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June 18, 2012

Apple, Samsung account 55% of global smartphone market in Q1 of 2012: Report

The question the research firm says is can anyone break away to become a strong third contender in this market

By CBR Staff Writer

Samsung and Apple accounted for 55% of global smartphone market shipments in the first quarter of 2012 (Q1 2012) and shared 90% of the profits in this segment, according to a new report from ABI Research.

Samsung shipped 43 million smartphones in the first quarter, followed by 35 million units by Apple.

Although smartphone shipments grew 41% year-over-year to 144.6 million as of the quarter ending March 2012, many smartphone OEMs are not enjoying the benefits of a rapidly expanding market, the research revealed.

Of the top ten smartphone OEMs, only Samsung and Sony had sequential growth in shipments in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Nokia saw a 40% decline in shipments and may soon be passed by ailing RIM in shipments despite the BlackBerry maker’s 20% sequential decline in shipments, ABI said.

ABI Research devices, applications & content senior analyst Michael Morgan said, "At this point in the year, Nokia will have to grow its Windows Phone business 5000% in 2012 just to offset its declines in Symbian shipments."

Smartphone markets penetration in North America and Western Europe has crossed 50%, thus smartphone OEMs should seek growth in key markets, including China, which continues to show strong shipment growth of over 80%, the report noted.

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The report, "Smartphone Market Data", shows in spite of the shipment growth opportunities that China offers, smartphone OEMs will have to contend with local vendors ZTE and Huawei whose cost structures deliver smartphones and homologated content ecosystems at the lower price points needed to drive growth across the country.

ABI Research devices, applications & content practice director Jeff Orr said, "As Nokia’s market share in China plummets, the competition to fill this power vacuum has the potential to make or break smartphone OEMs currently struggling with profitability and differentiation."

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