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January 25, 2013

Smartphone leads in handset shipments during Q4: report

ABI Research predicts that Apple's market share will tip in 2013 at 22%.

By CBR Staff Writer

Smartphones accounted for 43% of all handset shipments during the fourth quarter of 2012 and 41% of all shipments during the entire year, according to a report by ABI Research.

According to a new report, global shipments of smartphone and handsets rose 36% and 2% respectively during 2012 to 653 million and 1.6 billion compared to 2011.

According to the report, Samsung topped the list of shipments with 106 million handsets shipped. 60 million were smartphones in Q4 and captured 31% of overall smartphone shipments.

In 2012, Samsung reported 21.6% rise in handset shipments and 123.8% growth in smartphone shipments.

However, Apple’s overall smartphone shipments reached 135.8 million and shipment growth dropped from 96% in 2011 to 46% in 2012.

ABI Research mobile devices senior analyst, Michael Morgan, said it is clear that the iPhone’s rapid-growth period has ended.

"Unless Apple is willing to trade iPhone margins for low cost iPhone shipments, Apple’s handset market share will become dependent on customer loyalty," Morgan said.

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ABI Research also predicts that Apple’s market share will will be 22% in 2013.

Other manufacturers, including Nokia, shipped 86.3 million handsets and 6.6 million smartphones during the fourth quarter, while RIM shipped 6.9 million smartphones and ZTE’s smartphone shipments reached 11.2 million.

ABI Research senior practice director, Jeff Orr, said that Samsung and Apple are both under pressure to maintain their market lead.

"Technology optimization choices and a diverse handset portfolio are critical decisions over the next 6 to 9 months to come out ahead," Orr said.

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