Samsung was the star performer during the quarter, capturing a record 25 percent marketshare to become the world’s number one handset vendor for the first time ever.

Alex Spektor, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “As volumes contracted in key developed markets like Western Europe and North America, global handset shipments grew just 3 percent annually to reach 368.0 million units in Q1 2012. Samsung was the star performer, shipping 93.5 million handsets worldwide and capturing a record 25 percent marketshare. Five years after it captured the number-two spot from Motorola, Samsung has finally become the world’s largest handset vendor in volume terms.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Nokia’s global handset shipments declined a huge 24 percent annually to 82.7 million units in Q1 2012. Volumes were squeezed at both ends, as low-end feature phone shipments in emerging markets stalled and high-end Microsoft Lumia smartphones were unable to offset the rapid decline of Nokia’s legacy Symbian business. Nokia was the world’s largest handset vendor between 1998 and 2011, for 14 years, before finally yielding top position to rival Samsung this quarter.”

Tom Kang, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Apple shipped a healthy 35.1 million handsets worldwide in Q1 2012, nearly doubling from 18.6 million units in Q1 2011. Apple achieved its highest ever marketshare in the overall handset category, capturing 10 percent of global shipments during the first quarter of 2012. Demand for the new iPhone 4S model remained strong in the United States and Japan, while the recent launch of the 4S in China was a timely contributor to Apple’s rapid growth. We expect Apple to grow further in the second quarter of the year, but the upcoming launch of Samsung’s new Galaxy S3 flagship model could slow iPhone’s growth in some regions if it is well received by operators and consumers.”