Nokia sold 51% more Lumias in Q4 than in Q3, Windows Phones finally outsold Symbian devices

Seemingly longing for some of the attention that all the recent CES-related stuff got, Nokia sent out a press release today boasting that it managed to exceed expectations of Lumia device sales in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Nokia sold 4.4 million Lumia-branded Windows Phones in that three-month period, compared to 2.9 million in Q3. That’s a 51% jump.

But we honestly don’t understand whose expectations (read: predictions / forecasts) Nokia says it exceeded. The 4.4 million figure is within 100,000 units of our own expectations, laid out in detail back in mid-October.

nokia logo

The stock market seems to be impressed, though (perhaps because its main players aren’t well versed in the mobile world’s dealings). Nokia’s share prices surged in pre-market trading, so in a certain sense there’s some good that comes out of all of this for the Finnish company.

Not that a 50%+ increase in sales quarter-on-quarter is a bad thing. It’s just not incredibly exciting, since Nokia’s Windows Phone sales made up just around 1.7% of the total smartphone market in Q3 – if that isn’t a low baseline, what is? If we add in Symbian devices, Nokia’s smartphone market share from July to September was 3.7%.

Sure, you won’t see market leader Samsung jumping 50% or more in terms of smartphone market share from one quarter to the next, but then again the Korean company starts at 32.8% for Q3.

The fourth quarter of 2012 turned out to be historic for Nokia though for another reason entirely. Believe it or not, this was the first quarter in history in which Nokia sold more Windows Phones than Symbian devices.

Seriously. About one year and a half after the infamous ‘February 11′ announcement in which Nokia CEO Stephen Elop told the world that his company would give up on that particular operating system, this finally happened. The fact that it took this long should be measure enough for Windows Phone’s success so far, especially considering that ever since Nokia joined the platform, it’s been the best selling WP brand.

Mind you, Nokia still sold 2.2 million Symbian devices in Q4. So Symbian still isn’t actually dead. And at this rate, it might comfortably make it past the two-year anniversary of its retirement announcement.

As for the first quarter of this year, Nokia says its sales will be impacted by a lot of factors. Seasonality, “competitive industry dynamics”, consumer demand, the macroeconomic environment, and “continued ramp up” of the company’s new Lumia smartphones. To this day no one has figured out what the phrase “ramp up” is supposed to mean in this context, but it seems like Nokia people are starting to love pushing it. We first heard those words in October, and now they’re in this press release too. Make of that (and “consumer demand” cited as a cause for concern) exactly what you wish.

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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