Samsung is now probably the world's biggest phone maker, beating stumbling Nokia in Q1
Yesterday, Nokia shocked the industry with news of much worse than expected first quarter. The blow it took was so bad that Nokia is probably no longer the world’s biggest phone maker, after long years of dominance. Chances are that Samsung now dominated world phone sales and here’s why.
Nokia Symbian smartphone sales took a plunge in Q1, and it’s still too early for Windows Phone to weigh in. Nokia estimated it’s sold nearly 71 million feature phones in Q1, and only 12 million smartphones. This a catastrophical decline, the biggest drop in unit sales we’ve ever seen - down from 113.5 million Nokia phones sold in Q4 2011, and down from 108.5 million units year-on-year.
Samsung in contrast continues to grow sales. Estimates show that Samsung shipped between 41 and 44 million smartphones, and somewhere around 44 to 47 million feature phones. This puts Samsung’s lowest estimate for phone sales in Q1 at 85 million units, and even this lowest estimate is higher than Nokia’s total of 83 million phones sold.
What happened? Two things. First, Android reached the low end extremely fast. Big name phone makers like Samsung offer smartphones like the Galaxy Pocket starting at around $100. That squeezes feature phones to even cheaper territories where margins are virtually non-existant. Second, Nokia lost its key markets - China, India, the Middle East and Africa, all critical for Nokia Symbian sales, showed that Symbian is no longer an option for them.
We’re yet to figure out all the tiny factors that allowed Nokia to lose its positions so quickly, and we are yet to see the official results that should come in a couple of weeks, but it seems that Samsung is now officially the king of global phone sales.