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Global Smartphone Growth Slows, But Android Share Surges

Boston – Growth in global smartphone shipments slowed to 43 percent in 2012 from the previous year’s 64 percent because smartphone penetration began to mature in such developed markets as North America and Western Europe, a Strategy Analytics study found.

The research and consulting company also found Android raising its global smartphone market share faster than Apple during the year. Android raised its share to 68.4 percent of units shipped in 2012, up from the previous year’s 48.7 percent. Apple’s share gains were minuscule in comparison, with Apple’s share rising to 19.4 percent from 19 percent. Combined, Android and Apple commanded an 88 percent share of global smartphone shipments in 2012.

“The worldwide smartphone industry has effectively become a duopoly as consumer demand has polarized around mass-market Android models and premium Apple designs,” said senior analyst Scott Bicheno.

In 2012, unit sales of all smartphones rose 42.7 percent to 700.1 million compared with a 2011 gain of 64 percent to 490.5 million.

During the year, Android unit sales rose 100 percent to 479 million. Fourth-quarter Android shipments were up 89 percent to 152.1 million.

Apple unit sales rose 46 percent in 2012 to 135.8 million, with fourth-quarter shipments up 29 percent to 47.8 million.

Shipments of smartphones based on other operating systems fell in 2012 and the quarter. Shipments of phones based on Microsoft, BlackBerry and other OSs fell 46 percent to 85.3 million units for the year and 57 percent in the quarter to 17.1 million.