iPhone 5 boosts Apple, but Samsung still tops in smartphones

Sales of the iPhone 5 boosted Apple’s share of the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter, but it remained in second place behind arch-rival Samsung, according to a new report.

As Apple reported last week, it shipped 47.8 million iPhones in the holiday quarter. Those devices accounted for 22.1 percent of all smartphones shipped in the period, according to Canalys, a market research firm. That was a marked improvement from the third quarter of 2012, when Apple’s share was just 15.5 percent. Canalys attributed that growth in share to the iPhone 5, which Apple launched in September.

But even with the iPhone 5, Apple’s share of the smartphone market slipped from the holiday quarter in 2011. That’s because the total smartphone market grew at a 36 percent annual rate, while Apple’s shipments  grew by 29 percent.

And Apple remained behind market leader Samsung. In the fourth quarter, Samsung shipped 62.9 million smartphones, giving it 29 percent of the total market.  That was up from the 22 percent share it held in the year-earlier period, but down from the 32 percent it posted in the third quarter.

Rounding out the top 5 in the fourth quarter were Huawei, with 5.3 percent of the market; ZTE, with a 4.7 percent share; and Lenovo, with 4.4 percent. Those three companies replaced Sony, HTC and BlackBerry (the former Research in Motion), who represented the no. 3 through no. 5 vendors, respectively, in the third quarter of last year.

(Photo courtesy of Apple.)

Troy Wolverton Troy Wolverton (274 Posts)

Troy writes the Tech Files column as the Personal Technology Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. He also covers the digital media, mobile and video game industries and writes occasionally about Apple, chips, social networking and other aspects of technology. Previously, Troy covered Apple and the consumer electronics industry. Prior to joining the Mercury News, Troy reported on technology, business and financial issues for TheStreet.com and CNET News.com.