Samsung and Apple account for half of smartphone market in Q4 2012

The smartphone market continued to show impressive growth in Q4 2012 with 219.4 million units shipped in the quarter, a growth of 36.4% over the same quarter a year ago. They also accounted for 45.5% of all mobile phone shipments, which themselves topped 1.7 billion units.

Samsung and Apple together now account for 50.8% of the smartphone market (up from a mere 45.5% only a quarter ago). Samsung set new records for number of smartphones shipped in a quarter and in a single year while Apple benefited from strong sales especially in China and the U.S. Up in third for the first time in its history is Huawei. Sony and ZTE held down fourth and fifth respectively with strong growth numbers. Out of the top five are RIM and HTC.

“The high-growth smartphone market, though dominated by Samsung and Apple, still presents ample opportunities for challengers,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Vendors with unique market advantages, such as lower-cost devices, can rapidly gain market share, especially in emerging markets. A good example is Huawei, which overtook LG as a Top 5 vendor in the overall mobile phone market and passed HTC to become a Top 5 smartphone vendor.”

Vendor 4Q12 Unit Shipments 4Q12 Market Share 4Q11 Unit Shipments 4Q11 Market Share Year-over-year Change
Samsung 63.7 29.0% 36.2 22.5% 76.0%
Apple 47.8 21.8% 37.0 23.0% 29.2%
Huawei 10.8 4.9% 5.7 3.5% 89.5%
Sony 9.8 4.5% 6.3 3.9% 55.6%
ZTE 9.5 4.3% 6.4 4.0% 48.4%
Total 209.4 100% 160.8 100% 36.4%

Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, January 24, 2013

In the overall mobile phone space for Q4 2012, Samsung continued to hold first place with a 23.0% market share. Nokia held on to second with a 17.9% share, followed by Apple, ZTE and Huawei respectively. LG dropped out of the top five.

It will be interesting to see what 2013 changes will bring. Will we see RIM return to the top five and is there anyone that can take the crown away from Samsung? It certainly looks unlikely at thsi point.

Read more: IDC