Apple Surpasses Samsung to Become #1 U.S. Mobile Phone Vendor

| News

Apple became the top mobile phone vendor in the United States for the first time during the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data published early Friday by Strategy Analytics. With 17.7 million iPhone shipments, the Cupertino electronics firm narrowly beat Samsung to take 34 percent of the entire U.S. mobile phone market.

Apple has become the number one mobile phone vendor by volume in the United States for the first time ever. Apple’s success has been driven by its popular ecosystem of iPhones and App Store, generous carrier subsidies, and extensive marketing around the new iPhone 5 model.

4Q 2012 U.S. Mobile Phone Shipments Apple Number 1

Apple’s 17.7 million U.S. iPhone shipments represented a roughly 32 percent increase over the 12.8 million units shipped in the fourth quarter of 2011. Samsung, which previously held the top spot since 2008, grew shipments 22 percent year-over-year, and fell to second place with 32.3 percent of the U.S fourth quarter market.

LG rounded out the top three with 9 percent of the market, but saw its shipments fall compared to the same quarter last year, with 6.9 million units in 4Q2011 compared to 4.7 million in 4Q2012. All other smartphone and feature phone shipments combined also fell, from 17.1 million units in 4Q2011 to 12.8 million in 4Q2012.

4Q 2012 U.S. Mobile Phone Shipments Apple Number 1

Overall, the entire U.S. mobile market shrank 11 percent for the year, from 186.8 million shipments in 2011 to 166.9 million in 2012. Economic uncertainty and more restrictive carrier upgrade policies were to blame, according to Strategy Analytics.

New phone models and increased consumer demand for 4G smartphones allowed the market to recover somewhat in the fourth quarter, however, and 4Q2012 shipments were 4 percent higher than those in 4Q2011.

Apple’s latest smartphone, the iPhone 5, was released in September 2012. Current rumors and analyst predictions expect Apple to refresh the iPhone in the third calendar quarter of 2013, with speculation increasing that Apple will expand the product line to include a lower-cost model, a larger roughly 5-inch model, or both.

Samsung is also expected to unveil several new phones this year, including the highly anticipated successor to the company’s successful Galaxy S III smartphone.


Gareth Williams

Where are the Apple bashers now - Brad you there…Maybe you should say that Samsung are doomed


When writing a article stating a company is number one you should read all the facts, Apple was number one for just one quarter last year. Samsung outsold Apple by 10 million units for entirety of the year, Which i believe would still make them Number 1.

Carsten Legaard

There’s one more dimension to facts and figures: Growth. Only Samsung and Apple is on the growth course, all others seem to decline.
That said there’s a significant diference in growth factor. In mill. units
Apple from 29.7 to 43.7
Samsung from 52.3 to 53.0
Yes, Samsung leads. So far ....


LOL Gareth Williams.  You’ll learn that Brad doesn’t address any articles on TMO that go counter to his position that Apple sucks and is doomed.  He simply hides and waits for it to go away.

Yesterday marked the 2 year anniversary of one of his most ignorant predictions on TMO.  1/31/2011:

“I won’t have to use any excuse, but if Apple comes back
and dominates the smart phone market, I’ll admit I was wrong. But it’s not
happening, which is why it’s so much fun watching you guys all try to
explain why Apple continues to win by being less relevant!

The fun part is that we’ll be doing this all over again in a year for the
declining and mostly irrelevant iPad, and you’ll all be explaining why that
isn’t like the iPhone, which isn’t like the 1992 Mac, etc.”

Brad had actually predicted that iPhone would end up in the 10%-15% US market share range for smartphones back in Dec 2010.  So now when I call him on his above quote, and ask when he is going to admit that he was wrong (which he never has here on TMO), he avoids me.  Pretty sad and pathetic, if you ask me.  You’d think someone who is as insulting as Brad is to us on TMO would actually have a backbone…

“Declining and mostly irrelevant iPad” - LMAO.  What a joke.  I just wish he didn’t resent Apple so much…


This article is number-fudging. In fact Apple is being crushed.
The competition is between IOS vs Android, not iphone vs samsung or some other maker. It doesn’t matter who makes the shiny metal object - samsung, LG, or somebody else.

Stats that do matter:
Sales: android (152M in Q4 2012) is selling 3:1 over ios (only 47M in Q4 2012).
Market Share: android (70.1% Q4 2012) is 3:1 again over ios (22% in Q4 2012).
The rest is spin.
Apple deserves this trouncing because it censors content and blocks free speech - including political speech - such as blocking antiwar and political cartoon apps. Maybe they should just move to China - both are so much alike. RIP Apple.

Jim Tanous

This article is number-fudging. In fact Apple is being crushed.
The competition is between IOS vs Android not iphone vs samsung or some other maker.

While the analysis between iOS and Android is a very important one, and one that we’ve covered numerous times, the analysis of individual phone vendors, which this article addresses, is also important.

While an argument could be made that every Android hardware manufacturer benefits from the success of other Android hardware manufacturers (due to the creation of a robust ecosystem, for example), those phone vendors could not sustain themselves without selling an adequate number of units.

Combine this with the fact that Apple, even in a distant second place in an iOS vs. Android overall comparison, still dominates the industry in terms of profits. Most of the company’s rivals have razor-thin margins on their hardware sales while Apple’s margins, although beginning to fall, remain uncharacteristically healthy for the industry. In 3Q2012, for example, it was estimated that Apple controlled 59 percent of worldwide mobile phone profits with only about 6 percent market share.

So it’s clear that the success of individual hardware manufacturers does indeed matter a great deal, and the fact that Apple has briefly captured the top spot in the United States is a bit remarkable considering that the company’s competition can sell dozens of different models at nearly all price points (remember, the numbers in the article discuss all mobile phones, including basic feature phones, and not just smartphones).

I appreciate your passion against Apple’s policies, and I have often found myself personally critical of their decisions in some areas. I also believe that Apple will eventually meet its end (after all, everything ends eventually). Some believe that we’re already seeing the beginning of that downfall now. Others, myself included, believe that we have a long way to go before that occurs and that Apple will continue to do well in mobile phones while expanding into other areas like television for likely decades to come.

Regardless, if the numbers put forth by Strategy Analytics are true, and we have no reason to believe they’re largely inaccurate, as of the fourth quarter, Apple is the number one mobile phone vendor in the U.S., in terms of new shipments. As you phrased it, “the rest is spin.”


It is so sad to see that for every Bosco-rist put in his place, there are new, younger Bosco-rists (i.e. David) ready to step in for their pathetic cause without question.

I wonder how many virgins are promised to a Bosco-rist in heaven for every doom and gloom prediction of Apple’s eventual demise.


LMAO.  Sorry Jim, but I couldn’t avoid drawing the comparison there!!  Just too funny to resist!!

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account