Mumbai: Samsung's mobile phone sales have reached 86.6 million units, a 25.9 per cent increase from last year, as it took back the world's number one smartphone position from Apple, selling 38 million units worldwide, research firm Gartner announced on Wednesday.
The Korean major dethrew Nokia which could sell only 83.2 million units in the first quarter, a 22.7 per cent drop. "Smartphone sales are becoming of paramount importance at a worldwide level.
For example, smartphone volumes contributed to around 43.9 per cent of the overall sales for Samsung as opposed to 16 per cent for Nokia," Gartner principal research analyst Anshul Gupta said.
In addition, Samsung's Android-based smartphone sales in the first quarter represented more than 40 per cent of Android-based smartphone sales worldwide, as no other vendor achieved more than a 10 per cent share of the market, he said.
Sales of smartphones continued to drive mobile device market growth, reaching 144.4 million units in the first quarter, up 44.7 per cent year-over-year.
This quarter also saw the top two smartphone vendors, Apple and Samsung, raising their combined share to 49.3 per cent, up from 29.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2011, and widening their lead over Nokia, which saw its smartphone market share drop to 9.2 per cent.
Meanwhile, Nokia's overall handset sales reached 83.2 million units in the first quarter, a 22.7 per cent drop from the first quarter of 2011, an official release said.
The release also said driven by the continued success of the iPhone 4S, Apple's sales grew 96.2 per cent in the first quarter as the new model expanded into new markets and carriers.
RIM sold 9.9 million handsets in the first quarter, with its global share declining to 2.4 per cent as competition increased in its international market strongholds, the release said.
"RIM desperately needs to deliver winning Blackberry 10 products to retain users and stay competitive. This will be very challenging, because Blackberry 10 lacks strong developer support, and a new BB10 device will only be available in the fourth quarter of 2012," the release said.
In the smartphone operating system market, Android accounted for 56.1 per cent of sales in the first quarter. Gartner analysts said the smartphone market has become highly commoditised and differentiation is becoming a challenge for manufacturers, the release said