According to the latest research from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, global mobile phone shipments grew a modest 2 percent annually to reach 1.6 billion units in 2012. Samsung was the star performer, accounting for 1 in 4 of all mobile phones shipped worldwide last year.

Ongoing macroeconomic challenges in mature markets like North America and Western Europe, tighter operator upgrade policies, and shifting consumer tastes were among the key reasons why global mobile phone shipments grew just 2 percent annually to reach 1.6 billion units in 2012. Fuelled by robust demand for its popular Galaxy models, Samsung was the star performer, shipping a record 396.5 million mobile phones worldwide and capturing 25 percent marketshare to solidify its first-place lead. However, Samsung’s total volumes for the year fell just short of the 400-million threshold.

Nokia’s global mobile phone shipments fell 20 percent from 417.1 million units in 2011 to 335.6 million in 2012. Nokia faced tough competition from Samsung in developing markets like China, while Apple and others ramped up the pressure in developed regions such as Western Europe. Nokia’s dual-SIM feature phones, Asha touchphones and Lumia handsets have been performing well, but this was not enough to offset a slump in demand for the company’s aging Symbian smartphone platform last year.

Apple shipped a record 135.8 million mobile phones worldwide in 2012. Apple delivered 46 percent annual growth last year, which was bolstered by solid demand in North America and Asia. Apple’s launch of the iPhone 5 in Q4 2012 was a success as volumes ramped up in dozens of countries worldwide, but negative media coverage of the model’s new integrated maps service and supply chain challenges cast a slight shadow over the launch.

ZTE captured 5 percent share of the global mobile phone market in 2012, as its shipments fell minus 8 percent from 2011, partly because of heightened competition in core markets like China and Western Europe from rivals such as Coolpad and Samsung.

The summary of the report is available to view here.

 

Exhibit 1: Global Mobile Phone Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q4 2012  [1] 

Global Mobile Phone Shipments (Millions of Units) 

Q4 '11 

2011 

Q4 '12 

2012

Samsung

95.0

327.4

108.0

396.5

Nokia

113.5

417.1

86.3

335.6

Apple

37.0

93.0

47.8

135.8

ZTE

24.4

78.1

19.5

71.7

Others

169.7

630.4

189.3

635.4

Total

439.6

1546.0

450.9

1575.0

 

 

 

 

 

Global Mobile Phone Vendor Marketshare %

Q4 '11

2011

Q4 '12

2012

Samsung

21.6%

21.2%

24.0%

25.2%

Nokia

25.8%

27.0%

19.1%

21.3%

Apple

8.4%

6.0%

10.6%

8.6%

ZTE

5.6%

5.1%

4.3%

4.6%

Others

38.6%

40.8%

42.0%

40.3%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

 

 

 

 

 

Total Growth Year-over-Year %

9.9%

13.7%

2.6%

1.9%

 

1 Numbers are rounded. The Total in the data-table does not include grey phone shipments.