Samsung has overtaken Apple as the most profitable mobile phone maker in the world, according to a new report.
Table: Global mobile handset shipments (April to June 2013) Strategy Analytics
The findings, from Strategy Analytics, indicate Samsung’s handset division had an estimated operating profit of $5.2bn (£3.4bn) in the second quarter of 2013, according to Strategy Analytics.
Apple’s iPhone operating profit was estimated at $4.6bn, with the iPhone range “underperforming”.
In the second quarter of this year – from April to June – Samsung sold more than double the amount of handsets compared to Apple and took in £4.5bn.
This represents a 44 per cent increase compared to the same time last year and gives Samsung its biggest ever lead over Apple since the first iPhone was released in 2007.
Total mobile phone shipments were 386 million in the April-to-June period, 4% up on the same time last year.
In all, 27.7% of phones shipped were made by Samsung. Separately, Samsung, which is also the world’s biggest TV maker, reported second-quarter profits of $7bn for the entire company.
“This was the mobile phone industry’s fastest growth rate since the second quarter of 2012,” said Neil Shah, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics.
“Strong demand for entry-level Android devices in Asia and Latin America drove much of the growth. Samsung continued to dominate, shipping 107 million mobile phones worldwide.”
“The current iPhone portfolio is underperforming and Apple is at risk of being trapped in a pincer movement between rival 3-inch Android models at the low-end and 5-inch Android models at the high-end,” said Neil Mawston, the research firm’s executive director.
He added that Apple’s profit margin on handsets had been fading because of “lacklustre” sales for the iPhone 5 and tougher competition from rivals.
“With strong volumes, high wholesale prices and tight cost controls, Samsung has finally succeeded in becoming the handset industry’s largest and most profitable vendor.”
ZTE on the rise
Both companies storm ahead of other phone makers, including LG, Lenovo and ZTE which had 5.1 per cent share, 4.7 per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively. This is the first time ever that ZTE has taken the fourth spot. Lenovo pushed Huawei from the list.
Apple is rumoured to be working on an iPhone 5S, due to launch in September, as well as a cheaper, plastic model dubbed iPhone Lite.
Figures from uSwitch.com’s Mobile Tracker for July found that Apple handsets are still among the bestselling smartphones in the UK. Apple’s iPhone 5 topped the list, followed by the 4S model. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is the bestselling Android device while Apple’s iPhone 4 is in fourth place and Samsung’s other Galaxy handsets occupy fifth, eight, ninth and tenth place.