Samsung Edging Apple in Q2 Smartphone Sales, But Race Not Over
Samsung is increasing its lead over Apple, Reuters reported July 16, after some polling of the industry.
The news organization is saying that Samsung sold 50 million smartphones during the second quarter, while Apple likely sold 30.5 million. The iPhone maker will report the results of its most-recent quarter (its fiscal 2012 third quarter) July 24, and Samsung will report its second-quarter results July 27.
During the first quarter, Samsung sold 41 million smartphones to Apple's 37 million.
"Samsung and Apple have been neck-and-neck for several quarters in the battle to be the largest smartphone vendor, but the May launch of the new Samsung model created a clear gap between the two, the poll of 41 analysts showed," Reuters reported.
Samsung followed on the popularity of its Galaxy S II smartphone with the May 3 introduction of the Galaxy S III, a large, light, slippery smartphone with a 4.8-inch display, six sensors and Google's Android version 4.0, known as Ice Cream Sandwich. The phone debuted in 28 countries before heading for five carriers in the United States.
Driven by the success of the S II and S III, IDC is expecting the second quarter to yield "the biggest smartphone volumes ever shipped from one single vendor in one quarter," analyst Francisco Jeronimo told Reuters.
Demand for the Galaxy S III is so great that Samsung has struggled to meet demand. JK Shin, head of Samsung's mobile division, told reporters in late June that the company expected to sell 10 million of the smartphones by July. With some of those orders not filled on time, however, a portion of those sales will instead count toward third-quarter totals.
Investment firm Barclays, for example, cut its second-quarter sales forecasts for the S III but increased its third-quarter forecast. JPMorgan analysts believe Samsung managed to sell about 6.5 million Galaxy S III devices, while other estimates have reached up to 7 million.
With Apple releasing only one new phone a yearand its newest iPhone not expected until Octoberthe early days of January will more accurately reflect the rivalry between Apple and Samsung than these earlier quarters, particularly with the Apple faithful hunkered in wait. (The particularly impatient can preorder the new iPhoneunsanctioned by Apple, of courseon the Chinese e-commerce site Taobao.)
Still, Samsung's strategy of offering a phone for every taste and price point has no doubt paid off. By Gartner's tally, Samsung shipped a total of 87 million phones during the first quarter, besting 14-year champion Nokia, which shipped just more than 83 million phones.
IHS iSuppli reported that Samsung shipped 92 million phones during the first quarter, to Nokia's 83 million.
Describing the battle between Samsung and Apple as the "front line" in the war between Google's Android and Apple's iOS, IHS analyst Ian Fogg went on to say that Samsung is "reaping the rewards of strong execution in product design, distribution and marketing."
Fogg continued, "The company has been bold and innovative with handset form factors, featuring differentiated handsets such as the Galaxy Note with its sizable 5-inch display, and a wide range of handsets in every other conceivable screen size.
The Reuters poll notably added that while Nokia is expected to have sold 10.4 million smart devices and 80.1 phones total during the April-to-June quarter, lesser-known brands Huawei and ZTE are expected to have moved 17.7 million and 24.3 million phones, respectively, while RIM shipped nearly 8 million smartphones, HTC 9.52 million, Sony 8.11 million and Motorola 9.32 million.