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Samsung pips Nokia as world's largest handset vendor

After being the world’s largest handset vendor between 1998 and 2011, Nokia has finally given up its top position to rival Samsung this quarter.

Samsung has overtaken Nokia to be the world’s top selling phone vendor, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics. Global handset shipments grew a modest 3 per cent annually to reach 368 million units in the first quarter of 2012.

Samsung was the star performer during the quarter, capturing a record 25 per cent market share to become the world’s number one handset vendor for the first time ever.

While Samsung sold 93.5 million devices in the quarter, Nokia sold 82.7 million units. Apple is at number three spot with a 9.5 per cent market share.

Mr Alex Spektor, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, said: "Five years after it captured the number two spot from Motorola, Samsung has finally become the world’s largest handset vendor in volume terms."

Market share

In India, Nokia is still the market leader but its market share has been on the decline. While Indian handset brands have dented the Finnish handset maker’s market position in the low-end segment, Samsung has slowly crept into the mid and top-end space.

Mr Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added: "Nokia’s global handset shipments declined a huge 24 per cent annually to 82.7 million units in Q1 2012. Volumes were squeezed at both ends, as low-end feature phone shipments in emerging markets stalled and high-end Microsoft Lumia smartphones were unable to offset the rapid decline of Nokia’s legacy Symbian business."

Highest-ever market share.

Apple achieved its highest-ever market share in the overall handset category, capturing 10 per cent of global shipments during the first quarter of 2012.

Demand for the new iPhone 4S model remained strong in the United States and Japan, while the recent launch of the 4S in China was a timely contributor to Apple’s rapid growth.

"We expect Apple to grow further in the second quarter of the year, but the upcoming launch of Samsung’s new Galaxy S3 flagship model could slow iPhone’s growth in some regions if it is well received by operators and consumers," the research firm said.

Source: APRIL 27