By Natasha Lomas
Samsung (GM:SSNLF) is on a roll in smartphones: taking a record 31 percent+ of the global market in Q3, and clocking up 30 million+ channel sales of its flagship Samsung Galaxy SIII, and more than three million in Galaxy Note II sales. Now its Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphone has overtaken Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone 4S to become the world’s best selling smartphone in Q3. That’s according to figures from analyst Strategy Analytics, from its Country Share Tracker service.
The analyst does not expect Samsung’s Galaxy SIII to hold the number one handset title for long though — in Q4, it’s predicting the newer iPhone 5 will out-ship Samsung’s flagship.
The analyst says three main factors propelled the SGSIII up the handset charts — namely: a large touchscreen (it’s 4.8 inches on the diagonal); extensive distribution (296 carriers in 145 countries as of July, according to Reuters); and “generous” carrier subsidies (Samsung won’t comment on carrier subsidies). Another factor likely to have helped the Galaxy SIII overtake the iPhone 4S was Apple buyers holding off on purchases ahead of the iPhone 5 launch, said the analyst.
The Galaxy SIII took 10.7 percent of the global smartphone marketshare in Q3, according to Strategy Analytics’ numbers, vs 9.7 percent for the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 — which was only released in late September — took 3.6 percent of the market.
The analyst’s figures show Galaxy SIII shipments ramping up from 5.2 million in Q2 to 18 million in Q3 (the SGSIII launched back in May), while iPhone 4s shipments dropped from 19.4 million in Q2 to 16.2 million in Q3.
Strategy Analytics estimates Apple shipped six million iPhone 5 handsets in Q3. Cupertino announced launch sales of five million+ in its first three days — claiming sales would have exceeded six million if its supply chain had been able to build enough iPhones to meet demand.
Reuters recently reported Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn (GM:FXCNF) saying it is ”falling short of meeting the huge demand” for the iPhone 5. It remains to be seen whether Apple will be able to smooth out any ongoing issues with iPhone 5 supply to meet demand in Q4.