iPhone 5 beats Galaxy S3 as top seller, says report

Apple's flagship phone outpaced all other rivals to become the world's best seller in the fourth quarter, says Strategy Analytics.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Apple's iPhone 5.
Apple's iPhone 5. CNET

The iPhone 5 surpassed Samsung's Galaxy S3 last quarter as the hottest-selling smartphone worldwide, according to a Strategy Analytics report out today.

For the final quarter of 2012, Apple shipped 27.4 million iPhone 5 units globally, winning a market share of 12.6 percent. In contrast, Samsung shipped 15.4 million Galaxy S3 phones for a 7.1 percent slice of the market. Samsung actually saw its S3 shipments and market share both drop from the third quarter's numbers.

Strategy Analytics senior analyst Neil Shah attributed the success of the iPhone 5 to a "rich touchscreen design, extensive distribution across dozens of countries, and generous operator subsidies." Holiday shoppers also certainly contributed to the phone's robust sales. The iPhone 5 was launched in September, so the fourth quarter was its first full quarter of sales.

Apple's iPhone 4S took second place ahead of the Galaxy S3 with shipments of 17.4 million and a market share of 8 percent.

"Apple's iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S together accounted for 1 in 5 of all smartphones shipped worldwide in Q4 2012," Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston said in a statement. "This was an impressive performance, given the iPhone portfolio's premium pricing.

However, Samsung will certainly try to regain the upper hand with the debut of its next Galaxy S smartphone. The company will hold an event in New York City on March 14 in which it's expected to announce the Galaxy S4. With a new iPhone not likely to launch until later this year, the S4 could pose a threat to its arch-rival.

"Samsung's Galaxy S3 has long proven wildly popular with consumers and operators across North America, Europe, and Asia," Mawston added. "However, global demand for the Galaxy S3 appears to have peaked and Samsung will surely be keen to introduce its rumored Galaxy S4 upgrade in the coming weeks to fight back against Apple's popular iPhone range."

Strategy Analytics