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Samsung tops Apple in global smartphone shipments

Reaching record highs, a total of 250 million smartphones were shipped worldwide in the third quarter -- and Samsung carried a whopping 35 percent of this market share.

Samsung Galaxy S4.
Josh Miller/CNET

Global smartphone shipments have reached an all-time high for the third quarter, according to a Strategy Analytics study released Monday. For the first time ever, more than 250 million smartphones were shipped worldwide in a single quarter, which is a 45 percent increase over last year. And Samsung topped all other phone makers for global market share.

"Samsung shipped over two times more smartphones than Apple during the quarter," Neil Mawston, Strategy Analytics executive director, said in a statement. "While shipments of the flagship Galaxy S4 model softened, solid demand for the new Note 3 phablet and for mass-market devices like the Galaxy Y helped to lift Samsung's volumes."

By the numbers, Samsung grew by 55 percent and shipped a record 88.4 million smartphones, which is 35 percent of the market share for the third quarter. By comparison, Apple grew by 26 percent and shipped 33.8 million iPhones. Apple's market share slightly decreased from 16 percent during last year's third quarter to 13 percent this quarter.

Despite Apple not leading global smartphone sales, it still posted better-than-expected earnings on Monday with $7.5 billion in profits. These earnings are said to have been fueled by iPhone sales. Strategy Analytics predicts that Apple's global smartphone sales will increase in the next quarter.

"We expect Apple to rebound sharply and regain share in the upcoming fourth quarter of 2013 due to high demand for its new iPhone 5S model," Mawston said.

While Samsung and Apple took the top two spots for global smartphone shipments, Huawei, LG, and Lenovo placed third, fourth, and fifth, respectively. This is the first time that Huawei has bagged one of the top three spots. The Chinese phone maker was able to increase shipments by 67 percent from the same time last year and ship 12.7 million units in this year's third quarter.

"Huawei captured 5 percent market share and became the world's third largest smartphone vendor," Strategy Analytics senior analyst Woody Oh said in a statement. "Huawei remains very strong at home in China, but its position is less robust in other major markets like the US and Europe. Huawei will need to expand aggressively in the American and European markets if it wants to seriously challenge the big two of Samsung and Apple next year."

Strategy Analytics