Global Mobile Smartphone Sales: Samsung Lead the Stats

The latest data on smartphone sales, reported by Tomi Ahonen, shows that Samsung sold nearly twice the number of phones as Apple, in Q2 2012. In part, this is due to the fact that Samsung have a range of handsets across almost all budgets, whereas Apple is only in the high-end smartphone market (at that point, the S3 was not yet launched). Whilst  Samsung have taken sales from the likes of Nokia and RIM in the past (and that trend continues), it seems that the lion’s share in the first part of 2012 came from Apple. Their share dropped from 24% to 17%, whereas Samsung increased from just over 30% to nearly 40%. Apple’s drop is not through lack of sales, but rather, from the increase in the global smartphone market. However, the impending iPhone 5 may also have caused some Apple users to wait and see what they company would do.

The most interesting aspect of all this is that Samsung is also involved in making TVs, tablets and PCs (and for that matter washing machines). The company is working on the integration across all devices and by next year they expect to be responsible for 3 billion screens in the world.

With 6 billion phones globally, it is equivalent to 86% of the population owning one (of course some people have two or more phones, so it’s not that big). 30% of those phones are now in China and India, and smartphones are by far the biggest selling category (we now have 1 billion globally).

Data Source: Tomi Ahonen,

In terms of operating systems, Android was nearly 67% of the smartphone sales in Q2 2012, and taking into account the installed user base, that it is currently 41% of all smartphones. As someone pointed out, Android phones are selling faster then babies are born.  iOS at 17% of sales and 19% of the installed base. Samsung’s share of OS was: Android  91%, Bada 8% and Windows Phone 1%.

Smartphone Penetration and Usage Statistics

How many people have smartphones and what are they doing on them?

One of my 2012 mobile predictions was the (continued) rise of the smartphone. When a majority of people have such a powerful connected device, it changes everything for brand engagement.

I’ve created this handy chart to show where things stand across a range of countries. As there is no single data source, I’ve cobbled the information together from a variety of places. The EU5 and US are based on Comscore (Oct 2011), the others are from Google/IPSOS ( and Informa. Similar data can be found in the excellent Netsize 2011 guide.

One of the problems of using different data sources is that they are using slightly different measurements. For example, Comscore use a panel whereas the others will take data from network operators or the GSM Association. Take the UK, for example, where figures for smartphone penetration range from 46% to 53% depending on who you ask.

The chart below (using the same data sources) shows what people are doing on their devices, as a percentage of smartphone owners:

There are some key differences depending on the territory. For example (non-native)apps are much less popular in Poland, Czech Repbulic, and Turkey than the UK, Australia or the US. One key reason may simply be down to language. There are less apps in Turkish than English.

With a couple of exceptions, both mobile web and email represent the highest media use, not apps. Although some brands have begun to understand the importance of mobile optimised sites, many of them have focussed their efforts on apps. A significant oversight by brands is with email. Whilst it represents some of the greatest smartphone usage, few campaigns are optimising for it. Clearly a missed opportunity as the evidence is that where emails are optimised for mobile both read and click-through rates are significantly higher.

One interesting development is how usage has changed during the last 12 months. The chart on the right shows how apps and mobile web have grown in particular. Whilst SMS usage still remains high (the chart shows only SMS outside of peer-to-peer, such as brand marketing), it is flattening off.

UK smartphone market share: iPhone, Android & BlackBerry

Update: click here for more stats on current UK smartphones

The latest UK handset share stats have just been released by ICM Research. They have found that Android has the largest share of smartphones at 13%, followed by BlackBerry with 10% and iPhone with 9%. Overall, smartphones have increased their share of handsets in use since last year, with RIM increasing by 4% and Apple adding 2% to their market share. The largest just though was from Android who doubled their market share against the previous year. That’s thanks largely to Samsung and HTC’s mid-range handsets. Windows measly 1% share is also thanks to those two manufacturers.

‘If Apple only have 9%, how come everyone I see (apart from teenagers) has an iPhone?’ you may be asking. There are a couple of reasons for that: first of all we know that iPhone users do more of everything than anyone else – more web browsing, more app downloading – so the chances are much higher that an iPhone user will have their device in their hand. Secondly, Apple only have 2 models on the market, with the 4 and 3gs. All of the other operating systems are represented by a much larger range of phones. That makes the iPhone the most successful single handset.

According to ICM though, the outlook for Android and BlackBerry is very good as they fill the mid-range smartphone gap very nicely. Apple in the meantime probably don’t care that much. What with the app store, they make more profit than all of the others put together.

The Problem with BlackBerry: still loosing sales to Android

The indications have been there for some time, but the rise and rise of Google’s Android seems to be at the expense of RIM’s BlackBerry. Whilst iPhone sales are slowly increasing, RIM is seeing its market share eroded. In an attempt to bring back their market share the Canadian company announced a number of new handsets (and launched their poorly received Play Book) at BlackBerry World this week. One interesting development was the announcement of an NFC enable BlackBerry Bold for contactless payments and ticketing. At the moment the handset has only been announced for the US users. The potential of NFC is significant and the fact that RIM are early to market in this technology could give them an advantage.

But are these handsets enough to increase BlackBerry’s position in the handset wars? Not according to Wall Street, with analysts predicting that the developments were little more than incremental and did nothing to deal with the underlying problem: good handsets but a poor operating system. The bottom line is that RIM are attempting to play catch-up by adding iPhone-like features. In a time when OS choices are driving smartphone adoption, Wall Street analysts claim that they are not addressing the ‘ineptness’ (as one analyst described it) of their operating system.

Although Blackberry was positioned primarily to the business market, their key success in the last few years has been BBM, their free, built-in messaging product. It has been widely adopted by teenagers in a similar way to the adoption of SMS ten years ago. Unfortunately young people are not the key demographic for success in the market. It’s the 25+ professionals (so, people with money) that are defining the iPhone and Android sales. Getting sales are not just about operating systems and great handsets, these days it’s also about app stores. Apple defined the market, but Android are rapidly catching up with iTunes. They already have more free apps, and the latest predictions show Android Market overtaking Apple’s offering the autumn. Does anyone buy a BlackBerry for the app store? Not very likely.

Latest iPhone and smartphone sales stats

With the end of year figures for 2010 just released, a number of interesting facts have appeared:

  1. 101 million smartphones were sold world wide in the last quarter of 2010 – more than PCs – this is the first time that they have overtaken PC usage
  2. Google’s Android, as implemented by the likes of Samsung, HTC, Motorola and LG is now the single most popular operating system for smartphones, overtaking Nokia’s Symbian
  3. Nokia remains the largest smartphone manufacturer taking 28% of the market share (up from 20% previously)
  4. Apple have overtaken RIM’s BlackBerry with a 16% share of the smartphone market, and are now second place to Nokia
  5. Apple has a market share of 5% of all mobile handsets, but makes half of all the profit

All interesting stuff, but what does it mean? Firstly, Nokia are by no means out of the running. A number of new handsets and their new operating system has kept them in the running. Whilst Apple is popular in some territories, in other parts of the world Samsung and HTC rule. As a result Android has become the larges smartphone OS out there. In the end though, Apple probably aren’t looking to take the largest market share. They are highly influential and significantly, far more profitable than anyone else. They are probably very happy with their 5% market share.

iPhone and Smartphone Sales figures 2010 (Q3)

I previously blogged about Apple becoming the fourth largest handset manufacturer. Here, I look at the figures for smartphones only. The at-a-glance status is:

Nokia 26.5M (33%)
Apple 14.1M  (18%)
RIM 12.4M (15%)
Samsung 7.9M (10%)
HTC 6.8M  (9%)
Moto 3.8M (5%)
Others 8.5M

Traditionally Q3 is Nokia’s worst time, and Apple’s best. They only bring out one iPhone a year, and this is reflected in the sales figures. My guess is that a vast majority of these sales are the iPhone 4, so we can estimate their current sales of this mobile at 12-14 million. What is significant about this though is that Apple has jumped ahead of RIM. In spite of the youth appeal of BlackBerry and BBM, the Canadian company have lost their way, failing to bring out the killer handsets that others have. Samsung have done particularly well, but it’s no surprise when you look at the Galaxy S and their entry level smartphones. What they have also done through using Google’s OS, Android, is make it the second most popular operating system:

Symbian 29M – 36%
Android 20M – 25%
iOS 14M – 18%
RIM 12M – 15%
WinMo 2M – 3%

Samsung, Motorola and HTC have all benefitted from using Android. This appears to have been at the expense of Symbian, which may have previously appealed to the Android manufacturers.The distribution of Android amongst manufacturers is as follows:

1. HTC 33%
2. Samsung 31%
3. Motorola 18%
4. SonyEricsson 8%

Although Samsung sell more smartphones than HTC, some of those use their own Bada OS. Interestingly sales of Bada phones are greater than Android sales were at the equivalent point. Certainly one OS to watch.

Overall smartphone sales were up this quarter by nearly 30% – yet more evidence that the mobile world will be all smartphones sooner or later.

*Source figures from TomiAhonen Consulting


Peaked too soon? Have the iphone’s sales flattened off?

Reports of Apple’s iphone sales for the last two quarters of 2009 show (relatively) slow sales and no increase in market share.
The third quarter saw 7.4m iphones sold and the Xmas period was a poor 8.7m. Blame it on the recession? To some extent yes, but if you compare it to the market leaders, Nokia and Blackberry, Apple’s 17% share of the smartphone market remained the as the previous quarters. In fact Nokia had a good end of year with handset sales bouncing back.
The market will only get tougher for Apple with other manufacturers from Motorola to Google releasing some quality, Android-based smartphones. The next upgrade for the iphone will be in June 2010, so there will likely to be a slow down in sales until at least that point. In the meantime, RIM will continue to grow their market share, not least due to growing interest by the teen phone market.
In the UK, a YouGov study found the iphone to be one of the most-loved coolest gadgets around. Why, when there is such popularity for Apple’s phone, will their market share decrease? In part, it’s one of cost. Whichever way you look at it iphones are pricey. However, the phone only appeals to quite a specific demographic. Generally 20-50 year old creative and media types. So lots of journalists, lots of journalists who will write about how great it is!
Given the success of the iphone, and the billions that Apple earns from apps, I’m sure the company is not very worried. They claimed at their ipad press conference that they were bigger than Nokia. Bigger profits-wise. However Apple have never aimed at monopolising the market. Whilst every other phone manufacturer has developed all flavours of phone – touch screen, keypad, media players etc – Apple has a one size fits all approach. And if you don’t like it, then buy someone elses. That’s not to say that the company doesn’t listen to its customers or the market, far from it. They are currently searching for a better mobile phone browser for example. However, those needs aside, the latest sales figures could be an indication that their phone sales have peaked.

I said at the end of 2008 that the iphone was niche. I still stand by that and I am of the firm view that Apple’s 17% share of the smartphone market is their peak. The iphone will remain much loved but only account for around 15% of the smartphhone market at best.

Smartphone sales: latest figures reveal Nokia the market leader by far

The latest figures on smartphone sales release by analysts, Canalys, show that Nokia still holds the leading position with 16.4m units shipped in Q3, giving them a share of 39.7% of the market.

RIM’s Blackberry shipped 8.5m in the same period taking a 20.6% share and Apple’s iphone shipped 7.4m taking third place at 17.8%. HTC were forth with 2.2m phones.

It means that smartphone sales rose 4% on last year with total sales reaching 41.4 million.

Once again, there’s no doubting the popularity of the iphone, but it is important to remember that it is only third best selling manufacturer. However, as a single device it is significant, as both Nokia and RIM’s sales cover numerous handsets.