The global smartphone market now looks to be a two-horse race between Samsung and Apple, after the south Korean vendor took second place in global shipment charts during 2Q11.
ABI Research estimates Samsung shipped 19 million smartphones during the quarter, just shy of Apple’s market-leading 20.3 million and ahead of the 16.7 million units sold by Nokia, as higher handset sales drove its telecommunications division to an operating profit of 1.67 trillion Won (€1.1 billion).
Much of the growth came from the firm’s Galaxy S II smartphone, which ABI notes accounted for five million of Samsung’s total smartphone sales during the quarter.
While Apple currently tops the table, senior ABI analyst Michael Morgan says Samsung’s year-on-year sales growth of 500% means the smartphone market is now “Samsung’s to lose.” Apple’s sales grew 142% annually, he notes.
However, the Korean vendor predicts a tough third quarter, with continued global economic uncertainty wreaking havoc on its other divisions. “We expect competition to remain tight, and will continue to enhance our cost competitiveness and technology leadership in the components business,” says Robert Yi, vice president and head of Samsung Electronics investor relations team.
Despite the gloomy outlook, Samsung predicts handset sales will remain a bright light in the back half of the year. It tips demand will grow 15% during the period, fueled by smartphone upgrades, and plans to capture share with new LTE devices and an extended line up of tablet PCs.