Apple is top mobile phone vendor in US for the first time

1 Feb 2013

Figures from the fourth quarter of 2012 put Apple in pole position as the largest mobile phone vendor in the US, according to Strategy Analytics.

Strategy Analytics’ Wireless Devices Strategies service reports that mobile shipments in the US grew 4pc year-on-year to 52m units in Q4 2012 owing to demand for 4G smartphones and 3G feature phones.

Apple claims 34pc of this market, placing it ahead of competitor Samsung for the first time. It’s estimated that the iPhone-maker shipped 17.7m iPhones in Q4 2012 compared to 12.8m in Q4 2011. Strategy Analytics believes Apple’s success has been driven by its growing iPhone range and App Store ecosystem, extensive marketing of the iPhone 5, and generous carrier subsidies in the US.

Samsung shipped 16.8m mobile phones in the US in Q4 2012, giving it 32pc of the market share. This is up from 27pc last year but wasn’t enough to keep Apple from knocking the South Korean manufacturer off the top spot for the first time since 2008.

Strategy Analytics mobile phone shipments in US, Q4 2012

United States mobile phone vendor shipments and market share in Q4 2012. Source: Strategy Analytics

LG rounded out the top 3 with 4.7m mobile phones shipped in Q4 2012, accounting for 9pc of the market. This is quite a drop from LG’s Q4 2011 share of 14pc and the electronics giant has struggled to keep up with Samsung and Apple in the past year, but perhaps it will bring the fight back in 2013 and keep this from becoming a two-horse race.

Strategy Analytics also notes that, despite a strong last quarter, the US mobile phone market dropped 11pc in 2012 from 186.8m total units shipped to 166.9m. This is due to more reserved figures from the first three quarters of 2012, when the market contracted by 16pc. This could be attributed to economic uncertainty and tighter carrier upgrade policies in the US.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.