Galaxy S3 claims top spot in smartphones worldwide

But the Samsung phone's third-quarter glory is "likely to be short-lived," says Strategy Analytics, as Apple reasserts itself with a full fourth quarter of iPhone 5 sales.

Zack Whittaker Writer-editor
Zack Whittaker is a former security editor for CNET's sister site ZDNet.
Zack Whittaker
2 min read

The latest statistics from research firm Strategy Analytics peg Samsung's Galaxy S3 as the world's most popular smartphone model, holding 10.7 percent of the global smartphone market in the third quarter.

According to the research firm, Apple's iPhone 4S was relegated to a close second place with 9.7 percent of the market after two years at the top of the list, while the iPhone 5 held just 3.6 percent of the global share.

According to the figures, Samsung shipped 18 million Galaxy S3 units in the third quarter, up from 5.4 million in the second quarter, an increase of 230 percent.

Apple, meanwhile, shipped 16.2 million iPhone 4S handsets during the third quarter, down from 19.4 million in the second quarter, a decrease of 16 percent.

Apple also shipped 6 million iPhone 5 handsets during the third quarter since its launch in September. That said, Apple said on September 24 that it sold 5 million iPhone 5 handsets in the first weekend alone, but as the third quarter typically ends on September 30, it tallies up with the research firm's estimates.

Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston said in prepared remarks: "Samsung's Galaxy S3 has proven wildly popular with consumers and operators across North America, Europe and Asia."

He noted, however that while Samsung grabbed the smartphone share crown from Apple for the third quarter, the Korean smartphone maker will likely have to give it back in the run up to the December holiday season.

"The Galaxy S3's position as the world's best-selling smartphone model is likely to be short-lived. The Apple iPhone 5 has gotten off to a solid start already with an estimated 6.0 million units shipped globally during Q3 2012. We expect the new iPhone 5 to out-ship Samsung's Galaxy S3 in the coming fourth quarter of 2012 and Apple should soon reclaim the title of the world's most popular smartphone model."

Strong sales of the Galaxy S3 helped Samsung post a record third-quarter operating profit of $7.4 billion during the July-September months.