Samsung “Dethrones” Apple As World’s Largest Smartphone Maker?

Samsung “Dethrones” Apple As World’s Largest Smartphone Maker?

A few months ago, Apple took on the title of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer. A recent article from The Wall Street Journal claimed this was the case a few days ago, but now a new press release from Strategy Analytics claims that Samsung, who shipped an estimated 28 million smartphones compared to Apple’s 17.1 million, has now officially taken the title.

In my report on this from last week, I gave a number of reasons for why this number may not even be accurate, and why even if it is accurate, it’s not anywhere near as meaningful as it sounds.

This new release from Strategy Analytics actually makes the situation even more dubious, as its an estimate, and not an actual verified accounting. The points below recap what I discussed in my previous article, which goes into greater detail on each point.

  • Shipments vs. Sales – Samsung’s number of 28 million smartphones refers only to shipments into their distribution channel, while Apple’s numbers reflect actual sales.  Samsung’s number of devices shipped is not a valid comparison to Apple’s number of devices sold.
  • Samsung benefitted last quarter from anticipation that Apple would release a new iPhone model, with many consumers postponing their purchase to see what Apple would be releasing.
  • Samsung’s website lists 24 current smartphones, which they are comparing to the 2 iPhone models that Apple was offering during the same period (iPhone 3GS & iPhone 4).
  • Even if Samsung’s numbers are accurate, Apple’s recently reduced iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS pricing, as well as the popularity of the iPhone 4S position them to make a serious comeback in the coming quarter.

In short, it’s not clear whether or not Samsung really did top apple last quarter, as there aren’t concrete numbers, and the estimates offered by Strategy Analytics don’t actually offer a reasonable means of comparison – shipments and sales just aren’t as comparable as many reports would have you think.