Samsung accounted for one in four of all mobile phones shipped worldwide last year, but Apple had the fastest sales growth, according to new research.
The study, from research firm Strategy Analytics, found that Samsung shipments rose nearly 20% to 396.5 million.
The report also found that Apple’s phone shipments grew by 46% to a record 135.8 million mobile phones worldwide in 2012.
However, Nokia’s global phone shipments fell by 20% from 417.1 million units in 2011 to 335.6 million.
Overall, total shipments grew by 2% annually to reach 1.6 billion units in 2012, according to Strategy Analytics.
Neil Shah, senior analyst at the research firm, said: “Ongoing macroeconomic challenges in mature markets like North America and Western Europe, tighter operator upgrade policies, and shifting consumer tastes” were among the reasons for the modest global growth figure.
He added: “Fuelled by robust demand for its popular Galaxy models, Samsung was the star performer, shipping a record 396.5 million mobile phones worldwide and capturing 25% market share to solidify its first-place lead.
“However, Samsung’s total volumes for the year fell just short of the 400-million threshold.”
Meanwhile Strategy Analytics said global smartphone shipments grew by 43% annually to a record 700 million units in last year.
Global smartphone shipments for the full year reached a record 700.1 million units in 2012, from 490.5 million units in 2011, but there were signs that shipments of smartphones began to mature in developed regions such as North America and Western Europe.
The research comes as Samsung reported a 76% jump in profits for the last three months of 2012, helped by sales of its Galaxy smartphones.
The news comes as Apple lost its position as the world’s most valuable company in terms of stock market price.
Exxon surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable company after the iPhone and iPad maker saw its stock price falter.
Apple Inc.’s stock has been on the decline since the company’s quarterly earnings report Wednesday suggested that its fast growth phase, rare for a company of its size, may be coming to an end.
Apple’s stock fell 2.4 per cent to close Friday at $439.88 for a market capitalization of $413 billion. That followed a 12 per cent drop on Thursday, the biggest one-day percentage drop for the company since 2008.
Exxon Mobil Corp. gained 38 cents Friday to $91.73 for a market capitalization of $418 billion.
Apple first surpassed Exxon in the summer of 2011, displacing the oil company from a perch it had held since 2005. The two companies traded places through that fall, until Apple surpassed Exxon in early 2012 at least until last Friday.