Samsung ships 31-36M smartphones in Q4 2011. Loses top smartphone maker spot to Apple

Samsung reported its Q4 2011 results today.

Unfortunately, with each quarterly report, Sammy is becoming more and more secretive about its mobile and smart phone shipment numbers. Leaving it to analyst houses to provide us with educated guesses. Which, for July-September quarter in smartphones, ranged from 23.6 million (IDC) to 27.8 million (Strategy Analytics) units shipped.

The only thing everyone agreed on in Q3, was that Samsung has passed Apple to become the #1 smartphone maker in the world. But they didn’t hold the top smartphone vendor title for long.

Today Samsung was strangely precise in telling us about its smartphone growth in Q4 2011. Approximately 30% QoQ. Which can be 29.8 or 30.2 – but let’s not get too greedy here. By being this precise – Samsung gives us little room for interpretation about what the analyst estimates about its smartphone shipments will be next week:

  • Canalys – 35.5M units shipped
  • IDC – 30.6M units shipped
  • iSupply – 35.5M units shipped
  • Gartner – 31.2M units sold (this number can be a bit different, since Gartner tracks actual units sold)
  • Strategy Analytics – 36.1M units shipped

The actual reported numbers may differ a bit (probably +-0.5M), depending on how the analyst interprets  the “approximate” part of 30% increase.

Still, whichever way you look at it, after a monster Christmas quarter, Apple is again #1 smartphone maker in the world. In Q4. For the full year 2011, estimates of who owns the #1 spot will probably depend on how much particular analyst house likes Samsung.

Another interesting newsbit at Sammy’s earnings conference call, was their guidance for the overall 2012 mobile phone volume growth. Which they expect to be in the mid single digits. From a basis of “more then 300 million” phones shipped  in 2011.

Which means that this year Samsung may overtake Nokia as the top mobile phone maker in the world, but  I think it is unlikely. It will depend a lot on how much/whether Nokia mobile device shipments will fall in 2012. Nokia has slowed its overall phone unit volume decline to a trickle in the second half of 2011, and Samsung’s mid single digits growth should be too small to catch up with Finns before next year.

Overall, even though it’s again #2 both in smartphones and dumb phones, Samsung is killing it in wireless. During Christmas quarter, its mobile phone unit sales grew 54% YoY – to 17.82 trillion Won ($15.46 billion), while profits for all telecoms division increased by 79% to 2.64 trillion Won ($2.37B).

You can find official Samsung numbers here

 

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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