Samsung sells 55M smartphones in Q3

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Samsung sells 55M smartphones in Q3

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Samsung Electronics widened the gap with Apple in terms of smartphone sales in the third quarter, selling 55 million units to clinch one-third of the global market, IT researcher Gartner said yesterday.

Apple sold 23.6 million of its full range of iPhones in the latest quarter to claim a 14 percent market share. Unit sales were up 36.2 percent on-year, but this paled in comparison to the jump in demand for Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S3, released in May.

Samsung sold 18 million of its S3 handsets in the quarter ended Sept. 30, up 230 percent on-quarter, to overtake sales of the iPhone 4S, which stood at 16.2 million.

This added 7.2 percentage points to the share of the global pie consumed by the S3 alone, taking its Q3 share to 10.7 percent. Market share controlled by the 4S fell from 12.7 percent to 9.7 percent.

“We saw inventory built up into the channel as Apple prepared for the coming holiday season, global expansions and the launch into China in the fourth quarter of 2012,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

With the iPhone 5 launching in more territories in the fourth quarter, including China, and the upcoming holiday season, Gartner expects Apple will have its traditionally strongest quarter. Third-quarter sales of iPhones might have stalled because Apple enthusiasts were waiting to upgrade to the iPhone 5.

The third-largest market share for the quarter was taken by struggling Canadian Blackberry producer Research In Motion, with Taiwan’s HTC in fourth place, China’s Huawei in fifth and China’s ZTE in sixth.

The flagging Finnish company Nokia, once the world’s top mobile phone producer, sold a mere 7.2 million smartphones during the third quarter to account for only 4.2 percent of market share. Its ranking slipped from No. 3 in the previous quarter to No. 7.

Gartner said smartphone sales rose 46.9 percent on-year to 169.2 million units and Samsung and Apple controlled 46.5 percent of the market. Google’s Android operating system continued to raise its market share, up 19.9 percentage points in the third quarter from a year earlier to 72.4 percent. Apple’s iOS trailed with a 13.9 percent share, down by 1.1 percentage points on year. Samsung’s self-developed Bada platform, used in only a small share of its smartphone products, gained by 0.8 of a percentage point to reach 3 percent.

With the launch of the iPhone 5 in more markets, Gartner expects iOS’s share will grow strongly in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Samsung is expected to have a record operating profit this year, according to an analysis of local securities firms compiled by researcher FnGuide yesterday.

It shows Samsung will post an estimated operating profit of 28.6 trillion won ($26 billion) on revenues of 200 trillion won this year. That compares to 16.3 trillion won and 165 trillion won last year. The outlook comes after robust sales of the Galaxy S3 phone and the launch of the Galaxy Note 2 tablet/phone hybrid.

By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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