It’s basically a battle between Apple and Samsung. And not just in the courthouse.
Combined, the two companies accounted for nearly half of all smartphone shipments in the second quarter, according to market statistics from IDC.
But with Samsung releasing its Galaxy S III, and buyers still waiting for the next iPhone, Samsung widened its lead in total smartphone shipments over Apple. Samsung shipped about 50.2 million smartphones in the quarter, according to IDC, while Apple sold approximately 26 million iPhones in the quarter.
“Samsung and Apple have quickly become the global smartphone heavyweights though both employ somewhat different approaches to the market,” IDC analyst Kevin Restivo said in a report. Restivo noted that historically the two have had different approaches, with Samsung covering lots of price segments in many countries, while Apple focused on selling the iPhone in key markets. “While both companies have expanded their geographic presence in pursuit of market share, the two companies will inevitably come into greater conflict as both try to generate additional gains.”
When it comes to overall cellphones, Samsung beat Nokia for the second straight quarter, as the Finnish phone maker continues to struggle through a tough transition. Samsung shipped 94.2 million handsets in the quarter, compared to Nokia’s 83.7 million, according to ABI research.
According to ABI, total cellphone shipments for the quarter dropped by 1 percent from a year ago — a rare decline in the typically fast-growing market.
“Handset shipments have not seen a sequential YoY decline since the global economic crisis of 2008-2009,” ABI Research senior analyst Michael Morgan said in a statement. Sales were also down in the first quarter compared with a year ago.
“Although seasonality regularly brings a negative impact in Q2, the economic crisis in Western Europe has compounded the issue, leading to an uncommon annual contraction of handset shipments for two consecutive quarters,” Morgan said.
As has been the case, Nokia was not the only one struggling. RIM saw its smartphone shipments down 14 percent sequentially, ABI said.
On the upswing, by contrast, was China’s ZTE, which made it into IDC’s Top 5 smartphone vendors for the first time. It did so due to strength in its home market, as well as growth internationally, including in the U.S. where it is shipping under both its own and carrier brands.
“Despite impressive gains last quarter, brand equity may prove to be an issue for ZTE in future,” IDC said in its report. “Strong brand recognition is a necessity if high-growth smartphone sales abroad are a priority for the company.”