As widely expected, Samsung has duly succeeded in its ambition and has knocked Nokia off its perch to become the world's biggest maker of mobile handsets. Nokia's fall from grace has been as spectacular as it is complete. The Finnish company has no realistic chance of claiming back its lost crown as the locus of mobile manufacturing swings inexorably to the Far East. Martyn Warwick reports.
Samsung's Q1 figures are outstanding. The Korean company sold 93.5 million handsets. Nokia sold 82.7 million. Samsung now has a global market share of 25.4 per cent, up from the 19.3 per cent in commanded in Q1 last year.
And as the sun rose on Samsung, so it sank on Nokia. The Finnish company had been king of the hill for 14 years but the glory days are over and Nokia now has to focus on simply surviving in an unforgiving market. Nokia's market share now stands at 22.5 per cent and declining, having fallen from 30.4 per cent this time last year.
And not only has Samsung inflicted what may yet turn out to be a mortal blow to its Finnish rival, it has also claimed the place as the world's Number One provider of smartphones - for now anyway. In Q1 Samsung shifted 44.5 million smartphones compared to Apple's total of 31.5 million. Samsung now has a 31 per cent global market share of the smartphone sector, Apple has 24 per cent. That's impressive, but even more remarkable is the fact that Samsung has increased its smartphone sales by an astonishing 253 per cent in just 12 months.
According to new research from Strategy Analytics total global shipments of mobile handsets in Q1 was 368 million units. Smartphones accounted for 145 million of those shipments - up by 41 per cent on last year
Key to Samsung's rise has been, and is, the success of its Galaxy range of handsets. Thay are very popular with consumers and are widely regarded by both the general public and industry experts alike as real, credible and serious rivals to the almighty iPhone. The Galaxy suite also helped Samsung to reach its highest quarterly profit since 2008. As at March 31, Samsung booked a net profit of 5.05 trillion Korean won - that's about US $4.5 billion in 12 weeks and an increase of 86 per cent on the same quarter last year.
Commenting on a remarkable set of figures with typical Oriental modesty and self-effacement, Robert Yi, Samsung's head of Investor Relations said, "We cautiously expect our earnings momentum to continue going forward, as competitiveness in our major businesses is enhanced."
Elsewhere,Samsung VP, Kim Hyun Joon, said. “Growth is especially remarkable in emerging markets led by China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East."
So, Samsung is on a roll and New Galaxy phones are expected shortly. However, so too is the fabled Apple iPhone 5 - and that could take something off Samsung's shine.
That said, the global mobile handset sector is settling down onto what is, to all intents and purposes, a two-horse race between Samsung and Apple, with the likes of HTC, Motorola and now Nokia relegated down the field as also ran's. The only dark horse on the horizon is China's Huawei. The company is determined to make it big in handsets and has the time, money and ability to become a major player.
Samsung's success is also indicative of the growing importance of the Far East as a manufacturing base. It should be remembered that iPhones are assembled in China rather than the US, component parts of Motorola handsets are put in place in China and Korea, HTC is, of course Taiwanese, Huawei is in Shenzhen, in the People's Republic of China and even the assembly of the much-vaunted Nokia Lumia range has been outsourced to Taiwan. The compass has swung, who knows when or if it will swing back?
please sign in to rate this article