Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Android smartphones took the top three places in the UK's bestseller charts in the pre-Christmas sales period, according to uSwitch's latest Mobile Tracker report.
In at No. 1 was the Galaxy S III, with the ageing--but still desirable--Galaxy S II close behind at No. 2 and the low-cost Galaxy Ace taking third place.
The firm's tracker system, which uses UK aggregation data from searches together with pre-orders and sales from the network of comparison and consumer technology sites monitored by Omio.
LG's Nexus 4 scrambled to fourth position, while Apple's iPhone 4S and 5 only managed to capture the No. 5 and No. 6 spots, respectively, in December, claims uSwitch.
Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, said: "December's top ten chart reads like the Who's Who of smartphones. Top of the tree were three Samsung Galaxy phones--more than matching the iPhone with a range of incredibly affordable devices."
"The enduring presence of the Ace and Galaxy S II--both released back in 2011--prove that a bargain price point and strong software support can keep classic handsets battling with the heavyweights."
However, Doku warned that current favourites Samsung and Apple need to be aware that competition is going to be increasingly fierce this year.
"2013 looks set to introduce yet more exciting phones--January sees the make-or-break return of BlackBerry with a brand new operating system and refreshed range of devices," Doku said "Rumour has it that a wave of turbo-charged Android devices are set to follow suit, while new Windows Phone 8 phones will also be looking to make an impact."
Research firm Strategy Analytics thinks Samsung will ship 290 million smartphones this year, up 35 percent from a projected 215 million in 2012. Meanwhile, Strategy Analytics forecasts Apple's smartphone sales to reach 180 million this year, up 33 percent from 2012.
"We expect Samsung to slightly extend its lead over Apple this year because of its larger multi-tier product portfolio," Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston told Reuters.
Samsung plays in more segments and this should enable it to capture more volume than Apple, Mawston said, although he accepts that Apple could return to the offensive and roll out a smaller, cheaper "iPhone Mini" to grab market share by targeting demand from users of lower-end smartphones.
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