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Strategy Analytics: Global Mobile Phone Shipments Reach 1.6 Billion Units in 2012

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global mobile phone shipments grew a modest 2 percent annually to reach 1.6 billion units in 2012. Samsung was the star performer, accounting for 1 in 4 of all mobile phones shipped worldwide last year.

Neil Shah, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said, “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 2 percent annually to reach 1.6 billion units in 2012. Fuelled by robust demand for its popular Galaxy models, Samsung was the star performer, shipping a record 396.5 million mobile phones worldwide and capturing 25 percent marketshare to solidify its first-place lead. However, Samsung’s total volumes for the year fell just short of the 400-million threshold.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Nokia’s global mobile phone shipments fell 20 percent from 417.1 million units in 2011 to 335.6 million in 2012. Nokia faced tough competition from Samsung in developing markets like China, while Apple and others ramped up the pressure in developed regions such as Western Europe. Nokia’s dual-SIM feature phones, Asha touchphones and Lumia handsets have been performing well, but this was not enough to offset a slump in demand for the company’s aging Symbian smartphone platform last year.”

Linda Sui, Analyst at Strategy Analytics, added, “Apple shipped a record 135.8 million mobile phones worldwide in 2012. Apple delivered 46 percent annual growth last year, which was bolstered by solid demand in North America and Asia. Apple’s launch of the iPhone 5 in Q4 2012 was a success as volumes ramped up in dozens of countries worldwide, but negative media coverage of the model’s new integrated maps service and supply chain challenges cast a slight shadow over the launch.”

Other findings from the research include:

  • ZTE captured 5 percent share of the global mobile phone market in 2012, as its shipments fell minus 8 percent from 2011, partly because of heightened competition in core markets like China and Western Europe from rivals such as Coolpad and Samsung.

Exhibit 1: Global Mobile Phone Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q4 2012 1

Global Mobile Phone Shipments (Millions of Units)     Q4 '11     2011     Q4 '12     2012  
Samsung 95.0 327.4 108.0 396.5
Nokia 113.5 417.1 86.3 335.6
Apple 37.0 93.0 47.8 135.8
ZTE 24.4 78.1 19.5 71.7
Others     169.7     630.4     189.3     635.4  
Total     439.6     1546.0     450.9     1575.0  
Global Mobile Phone Vendor Marketshare %     Q4 '11     2011     Q4 '12     2012  
Samsung 21.6% 21.2% 24.0% 25.2%
Nokia 25.8% 27.0% 19.1% 21.3%
Apple 8.4% 6.0% 10.6% 8.6%
ZTE 5.6% 5.1% 4.3% 4.6%
Others     38.6%     40.8%     42.0%     40.3%  
Total     100.0%     100.0%     100.0%     100.0%  
Total Growth Year-over-Year %     9.9%     13.7%     2.6%     1.9%  



1 Numbers are rounded. Total in the data-table does not include grey phone shipments.


The full report, Global Handset Shipments Grow 2 Percent in 2012, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, details of which can be found here:

About Strategy Analytics:

Strategy Analytics is a global, independent research and consulting firm. The company is headquartered in Boston, USA, with offices in the UK, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, India and China. Visit for more information.

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