The smartphone market is in danger of becoming a two-horse race between Apple and Samsung, after the pair dominated shipments in the first quarter, analysts say.
Research firm Strategy Analytics estimates Apple and Samsung shipped at least half of all smartphones sold during 1Q12, a view backed by rival firm ABI Research, which notes the two vendors topped the charts in North America during the quarter.
“Samsung overtook Apple to become the world’s largest smartphone vendor by volume, with a record 31% market share,” notes Alex Spektor, associate director at Strategy Analytics, pointing to Samsung’s shipment of 44.5 million smartphones during the period, compared to Apple’s 35.1 million.
However, Apple and Samsung’s combined share of 1Q smartphone shipments shows the pair are “outcompeting most of their major rivals,” leaving the high-end device market at risk of “becoming a two-horse race,” Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, notes. The view is backed by Michael Morgan, senior analyst of mobile devices at ABI, who states Apple and Samsung’s dominance of the North American market has left their competitors “quickly looking to China and APAC as their best chance to capture market share.”
While Asia Pacific offers plenty of potential in terms of subscriber numbers, Kevin Burden, ABI’s vice president of mobile devices, notes the region also offers plenty of home grown competition, including HTC, Sony and LG. Vendors considering a low-tier device strategy in the region “may find that their Apple problem still has not been resolved. Apple claims that it is still learning about emerging markets, yet it continues to sell $1,000 [€756] handsets at an alarming rate,” he says.
ABI estimates global smartphone shipments hit 142 million units during the first quarter, compared to the 145.3 million figured by Strategy Analytics.