Research Firm Says Samsung Smartphone Shipments Top Apple

Samsung smartphone shipments top AppleThe research firm Strategy Analytics says its data shows that Samsung’s third quarter smartphone shipments surpassed Apple’s by a wide margin. According to the firm’s figures, Samsung shipped 27.8 million handsets, compared to 17.1 million for Apple’s iPhone.

“After just one quarter in the top spot, Apple slipped behind Samsung to second position and captured 15 percent share,” said Strategy Analytics director Neil Mawston. “Apple’s global smartphone growth rate slowed to just 21 percent annually in Q3 2011, its lowest level for two years.”

He added that the apparent slowdown in iPhone sales for the quarter was likely due to customers waiting for the iPhone 4S to ship, along with economic issues and competition from Samsung’s Galaxy S2 smartphone.

The group said Samsung now controls 24 percent of the world’s smartphone market share, while Apple is sitting at 15 percent. Nokia is currently sitting in the third place position with a 14 percent worldwide market share.

What Strategy Analytics didn’t say, however, was how many of the phones Samsung shipped were actually sold.

Despite Samsung’s higher shipping numbers, Apple isn’t hurting in the smartphone market. Apple reported selling 17.07 million iPhones during its fourth fiscal quarter, along with 11.12 million iPads.

Apple also said that it has already sold over 250 million iOS devices since the first iPhone was introduced in 2007.

iPhone 4S sales climbed up over 4 million during the first weekend of availability earlier this month, too, and the combination iPod and smartphone will be shipping in over 20 countries by the end of October.

Considering the volatile state of the smartphone market, it’s likely we’ll see the top three sellers trading places over at least the next few quarters.