Samsung Galaxy S3 Overtakes Apple iPhone 4S in Sales
But sales lead may be short-lived
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Mirror, mirror on the wall, what's the most popular smartphone of them all? In the third quarter of this year, it was the Samsung Galaxy S3, not the Apple iPhone 4S.
Strategy Analytics, which follows mobile device sales, says the popular Samsung phone edged out the iPhone 4S during the July through September period. The company found that Samsung’s Galaxy S3 smartphone model shipped 18.0 million units worldwide during the third quarter of 2012.
11 percent share
The Galaxy S3 captured an impressive 11 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally and it has become the world’s best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever. Apple shipped an estimated 16.2 million iPhone 4S units worldwide for second place.
It's the first-ever second place finish for the iPhone but it doesn't suggest flagging interest. The third quarter just happened to coincide with the end of the iPhone 4S' product cycle. Many consumers held off a purchase, waiting for the expected iPhone 5, which debuted September 12.
In fact, when you add in all the iPhone 5 sales in the last two weeks of the quarter, the 4S and 5 combo outsold the Galaxy S3 with more than 22 million shipments.
"A large touchscreen design, extensive distribution across dozens of countries and generous operator subsidies have been among the main causes of the Galaxy S3’s success," Strategy Analytics said in its report.
Interestingly, the numbers show a spike in Galaxy S3 sales at about the same time a California jury found Samsung was guilty of violating a number of Apple's patents. Some analysts think the publicity surrounding the case, and the suggestion the Samsung product was little different from an iPhone, helped boost sales.
The two companies are also bitter rivals because the Galaxy S3 uses Google's Android operating system, which late Apple CEO Steve Jobs always maintained was a rip-off of Apple's iOS.
Samsung may not hold the smartphone sale lead for long. Strategy Analytics notes that the Apple iPhone 5 is likely to regain the crown in the current quarter, outshipping the Galaxy S3.
Samsung and Apple together dominate the smartphone market. Analysts project the two companies' combined market share to be about 24 percent.