Samsung trounces Apple in Q2 with estimated 50M smartphone sales

Samsung smartphone shipments estimated to double those of Apple in quarter
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Samsung Electronics once again soared to a record profit in the second quarter. The company handily beat Nokia (NYSE:NOK) to retain its spot as the world's largest handset maker, and it outsold Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to remain the world's largest smartphone vendor, according to analyst estimates. Samsung's bottom line was significantly boosted by the Galaxy S III, Samsung's latest flagship smartphone--Samsung has sold more than 10 million Galaxy S IIIs so far.

Click here for a few key figures from Samsung's second quarter earnings report.

Samsung, which also makes everything from refrigerators to chipsets, posted a net profit of $4.55 billion in the quarter, besting its $4.4 billion net profit in the first quarter and 48 percent higher than its year-ago profit of $3.08 billion. The conglomerate's operating profit was a record $5.9 billion, up 79 percent year-over-year. Total company sales came in at $41.8 billion, up 21 percent from the year-ago period. 

Once again, Samsung's mobile unit was a key growth driver for the company. Samsung's mobile division enjoyed sales of $18.02 billion, up 75 percent year-over-year from $10.27 billion. Starting in the middle of last year Samsung stopped reporting how many handset and smartphone units it shipped, making it difficult for observers to guess where it stands among its peers. The company said overall handset demand grew slightly from the first quarter and that smartphone demand increased by a low single-digit percentage from the first quarter.

Despite the vague nature of Samsung's report, analyst firms were able to estimate that Samsung easily surpassed its rivals in unit shipment volumes. According to research firm Strategy Analytics, Samsung shipped a total of 93 million handsets--smartphones and feature phones--in the quarter, up from the 73 million it estimated in the year-ago period. Research firm IDC estimated similar figures, putting Samsung's total handset shipment tally for the second quarter higher at 97.8 million, up from the 75.4 million IDC had for Samsung in the second quarter of 2011. Both estimates beat Nokia's 83.7 million unit shipments, the second quarter in a row that Samsung surpassed Nokia in terms of overall handset sales.

In smartphones, Strategy Analytics estimated that Samsung shipped 50.5 million, a remarkable surge from the 20.2 million Strategy Analytics estimated from the year-ago period. IDC said Samsung shipped 50.2 million smartphones, up from the 18.4 million it had for Samsung in the second quarter of 2011. Both surpassed Apple's figure of 26 million iPhone sales for the second quarter.

Looking ahead to the third quarter, Samsung said it expects overall handset demand to increase, driven by the growth of smartphones, activity in emerging markets and seasonality. The company said it will introduce new smartphones "with diverse price ranges" and that it expects feature phone demand to increase slightly from the second quarter.

For more:
- see this Samsung release
- see this Samsung presentation (PDF)
- see this IDC release
- see this Strategy Analytics release
- see this separate Startegy Analytics release
- see this Reuters article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

Special Report: Wireless in the second quarter of 2012

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