According to the latest research from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, global mobile phone shipments grew a modest 1 percent annually to reach 362 million units in the second quarter of 2012. Samsung was the star performer during the quarter, capturing a record 26 percent marketshare.

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 1 percent annually to reach 362.0 million units in Q2 2012. Fuelled by record-high smartphone shipments, Samsung was the star performer, shipping 93.0 million handsets worldwide and capturing a record 26 percent marketshare to solidify its first-place lead.

Nokia’s global handset shipments continued to decline, albeit at a more moderate minus 5 percent annually, reaching 83.7 million units in Q2 2012. Nokia’s Windows Lumia family of smartphones has made a relatively encouraging start, but shipments are not yet high enough to offset rapidly fading volumes for its Symbian platform. Nokia’s feature phone volumes showed healthy, single-digit annual growth, bolstered by Nokia’s expanding portfolio of dual-SIM and Asha models for emerging markets.

Apple shipped 26.0 million handsets worldwide in Q2 2012. Apple delivered 28 percent annual growth, which was bolstered by solid demand in Asia. Apple’s next major task is to ensure that the upcoming release of its rumored iPhone 5 upgrade is a success. The hardware design, screen size and any integrated new technologies for the iPhone 5 will need to wow consumers and make the new model stand apart from competitors like Samsung’s Galaxy S3.

Other findings from the research include:

  • ZTE captured 5 percent of global handset shipments as shipments slipped minus 16 percent annually, partly because of weakened demand in major markets of Western Europe and China;
  • LG’s shipments nearly halved year-over-year to 13.1 million units, as its feature phone volumes continued to slip. However, its global smartphone shipments encouragingly improved on a sequential basis.


Exhibit 1: Global Handset Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q2 2012

Global Handset Shipments (Millions of Units) Q2 ’11 Q2 '12
Samsung 74.0 93.0
Nokia 88.5 83.7
Apple 20.3 26.0
ZTE 19.6 16.5
LG 24.8 13.1
Others 130.8 129.7
Total 358.0 362.0
Global Handset Vendor Marketshare % Q2 ’11 Q2 '12
Samsung 20.7% 25.7%
Nokia 24.7% 23.1%
Apple 5.7% 7.2%
ZTE 5.5% 4.6%
LG 6.9% 3.6%
Others 36.5% 35.8%
Total 100.0% 100.0%
Global Handset Shipments Growth Year-over-Year % 11.9% 1.1%