World’s best-selling smartphone: Apple iPhone 5; iPhone 4S #2, third place Samsung Galaxy 3 brings up rear

According to Strategy Analytics’ latest research from their Handset Country Share Tracker (CST) service, Apple’s iPhone 5 became the world’s best-selling smartphone model in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Apple’s iPhone 5 smartphone model shipped an estimated 27.4 million units worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2012. The iPhone 5 captured an impressive 13% share of all smartphones shipped globally. In addition to the iPhone 5, Apple shipped an estimated 17.4 million iPhone 4S units for 8% smartphone share globally in Q4 2012.

Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S are currently the world’s two most popular smartphone models.

Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S together accounted for 1 in 5 of all smartphones shipped worldwide in Q4 2012. Strategy Analytics estimates Samsung’s Galaxy S3 was the world’s third place smartphone model, shipping 15.4 million units globally, for 7% market (unit) share in the fourth quarter of 2012. According to Strategy Analytics, “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.”

Global Smartphone Shipments & Marketshare by Model in Q4 2012
Strategy Analytics: Global Smartphone Shipments & Marketshare by Model in Q4 2012
Notes: Numbers are rounded. Updated total.

Source: Strategy Analytics

MacDailyNews Take: You know, because Apple is doomed.


  1. this is interesting ….. but who cares about units shipped ?

    how many times in this forum have both MDN and individuals ragged about the irrelevance of the units shipped metric, usually when in reference to android devices.

    shipped is meaningless, sold is significant.

    1. Units shipped is a poor metric when Fandroids are touting superior numbers shipped compared to iPhones sold.

      The reverse isn’t the case. It still isn’t a proper comparison, but its effect is greater. Consider this: Apple SOLD more iPhones to end users than the number of Galaxy S3s SHIPPED.

        1. Exactly! Has anyone even heard of a Samdung Galaxy being back ordered or not having one in supply someplace?

          Nah, me neither. Not hard to imagine warehouses and storage shelves stacked to the ceiling with “shipped” phones. Until Wall Street demands actual sales numbers Samdung and the rest of those numbers don’t mean shit.

          Hey, but then again they let MS and Amazon not even report numbers and are expected us to believe they are doing amazingly well financially when they say “sales are strong” or “the best selling device we have”. haha

          Lying, cheating POS’s!

        2. But Android still has 82% of the smartphone market, and iOS 12%. Let’s see, not so long ago the figures were the other way round.

          So why are people not deserting iOS? Could it be because they are locked into it by all their purchases of apps, films, books? I can’t think of any other reason. An iPhone 5s is a cheap-to-manufacture phone sold at a premium price. Who else would tolerate a 300% profit margin?

          I would be all in favour of levelling the market and allowing users to transfer purchases between iOS and Android. It could be done. Locking customers in is anti-competitive and bad for consumers and firms trying to enter the market.

      1. mmmmmmm that’s not a fair comparison either. You’re comparing all iPhones to the Galaxy S3. That’s only one model and it’s an old phone. The above article interchanges best selling and units shipped. They’re not the same thing. Obviously. And Apple did not break down the fourth-quarter iPhone sales by model. So we do not know how many iPhone five, iPhone 4 S and iPhone 4 sold in the fourth quarter. And as everyone here always points out, accurately, these are simply estimates. So why should we now suddenly believe that these figures (estimates) are anything to be taken seriously?

        1. The charts clearly show that in Q4 2012, the iPhone 5 alone *shipped* more than the S3 (27.4 million vs 15.4). That automatically means the iPhone 5 was also the best *selling* smartphone for Q4.

          MDN’s cherrypicking data, analysts estimates, and idiots’ guesses aside, the point is that even when the S3 has the odds stacked in its favour (shipped > sold so numbers are inflated, so the “unfair” comparisons always favour Apple’s competitors), it still lost to both the current and previous generation iPhone.

  2. Apple’s shipment is usually the same as units sold because they usually sell every iPhone shipped. This is not the same for Android devices, and, as a result, sales figures for the Samsung Galaxy SIII will be much lower.

  3. This seemingly good news for Apple should send the share price down by about 4% today I think. This is all getting to be a bit tiresome. When does sanity come back to the market? (pp, don’t bother replying.)

  4. All the while this morning………. News feeds across the boards refuse to post these findings on iPhones SOLD!
    #1 AAPL
    Meanwhile the news feeds drum up some FUD and spew headlines such as Foxconn hiring freeze linked to Apple?

    Just….. UN……. FCKIN……… BELIEVABLE.

    1. Here here !! AAPL stock will be $700 to $800 again!

      Search for the real news because its not in the open always.
      Apple is doing way better and it will just get better!!!
      The revenue numbers and profits are the key indicators 🙂

  5. That is 20.6% or 1 out of every 5 smart phones sold globally are Apple iPhone 5 and 4S. If only Apple had some balls too so they could stand up for the share holders some day. Man up Apple board. You are winning and we keep getting killed because we believe in Apple’s future and put our money on your stock shares. Due your job or let someone else do it for you!

    1. You’re talking to Apple when perhaps you should be talking to the man in the mirror instead. Apple can’t be blamed for the Wall Street manipulators, Google / Samsung astroturfers and the shareholders that are ignorant of such propaganda. The shareholders need to stand up for themselves and rise above the dreck they’re in.

      Apple’s deal is making cool products. Your deal is making money from them and other companies in the stock market. Apple’s doing their part… It’s up to you to do the same.

  6. 12.9% Q3 and 20.6% Q4 of a market Apple supposedly owns?

    Sounds like Apple is getting it’s lunch stolen, mama talked about and GF taken by another, in playground parlance.

  7. I don’t trust numbers from Strategy Analytics (their rhetoric could not be more pro-Samsung if their were actually paid for it ) and urge others not to cite them. While very likely the iphone sets did this well, don’t grant SA legitimacy.

  8. This statistic would be more meaningful if the Galaxy IIIS was the only competition. It is not.

    Apple fans would be well advised to look at total iOS device sales & profits compared to total Android, Blackberry, and Win8Mob sales & profits. Thankfully, IDC stats show that iOS seems to be holding off the knockoffs much better than one might expect. Still, long term trends matter. Android unit sales just keep climbing.

    Profit (i.e., cash flow) matters today. Unit sales tells you how well you’ll be in the future.

  9. These numbers are even more impressive when considering that for most of the quarter the iPhone 5 was not even available throughout much of the world and in constrained supply where it was available. These are blow out numbers!

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