Samsung Maintains Lead In The Smartphone Market, Despite iPhone 5

Samsung blew past Apple last year to establish itself as the undisputed king of the smartphone market.

According to estimates we’ve compiled from Canaccord Genuity, IDC, Strategy Analytics, and others, Samsung shipped 212 million smartphones last year. For comparison, Apple sold 136 million iPhones.

In the fourth quarter alone, Samsung shipped 64 million smartphones, besting Apple’s 48 million, which were boosted by September’s release of the iPhone 5. Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S III was released last summer.   

Samsung— even as it engaged in courthouse drama with Apple over patent infringement—has capitalised on several factors to drive shipments: the popular Android OS, diverse product offerings (both price and styles), and an enormous marketing budget.

On price especially, Samsung has an advantage in less wealthy countries, like China, and countries without carrier subsidies. The average sales price of iPhones, meanwhile, has been remarkably stable, which is driving talks of a cheaper iPhone, lest Apple lose out market share in the next big wave of smartphone adoption.

One final trend to watch in 2013 is the rapid growth of Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE, now the world’s third- and fifth-largest smartphone sellers, respectively. However, their alleged close ties to the Chinese government have rankled politicians and brought both under the scrutiny of regulators in the U.S.

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Global Smartphone Shipments By Vendor

Here’s another look at the global smartphone shipments by vendor data: 

Click here to view a larger version of this chart.

Global Smartphone Shipments By Vendor

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