Samsung overtakes Nokia as top mobile phone maker

Samsung has finally taken the number one mobile phone manufacturer spot from Nokia.

Market Intelligence firm IHS iSuppli has issued a report claiming that Nokia has slipped from the top mobile phone manufacturer spot for the first time in 14 years. Samsung has taken its place.

It’s expected that Samsung will account for 29 per cent of all mobile phone sales in 2012, which is up from 24 per cent in 2011. Nokia, meanwhile, is set to take an opposite course from 30 per cent last year to 24 per cent this.

According to senior analyst Wayne Lam, “Samsung’s successes and Nokia’s struggles in the cellphone market this year were determined entirely by the two companies’ divergent fortunes in the smartphone sector.” Nokia’s strength in the feature phone market continues to diminish along with the market itself, while global smartphone penetration is set to rise from 35 per cent in 2011 to 47 per cent in 2012.

While overall mobile phone shipments will only rise by one per cent in 2012, smartphone shipments will rise by 35.5 per cent – a sure sign that smartphones are finally approaching mass adoption.

Samsung continues to perform well with the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, whilst Nokia has struggled to perform with its Nokia Lumia 920 – a fairly late entry to the high-end smartphone market, and one that runs on the brand new (and as yet unpopular) Windows Phone 8 OS.

The report claims that Samsung’s “fast follower” strategy – where it quickly supplies multiple handsets to address all sections of the market – has been the key to its success, while Nokia is “mired in transitioning” to the Windows Phone platform. Symbian sales have plunged, with sales of previous Windows Phone 7 devices like the Nokia Lumia 900 failing to pick up the slack.

Another interesting point from the report is that Samsung will extend its lead over Apple in 2012. Last year, their total mobile phone shipments were  separated by 17 per cent, whilst this year that will be stretched to 19 per cent.

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