Has Samsung overtaken Nokia in handset sales?

| April 12, 2012 | 96 Replies



Doing some last minute errands before I head off to the train station and then back to Manchester.

Based on the trends it was expected to happen some time this year, but we never thought so soon. I still remember from a few years back, Samsung claiming to be on a mission to dethrone Nokia. It was laughable back then given how strong Nokia seemed to be, but Samsung has continually ramped up sales, squeezing out smartphone after smartphone which to be fair, are pushing boundaries too (e.g. Note).

We suspected Samsung might have overtaken Nokia yesterday given the total 83M sales Nokia estimated for this quarter vs Samsung’s speculated 92M. Just this year Nokia lost out to Samsung/Apple for top smartphone manufacturer. Now, it seems the crown must be passed on to Samsung, with Nokia no longer the number 1 handset manufacturer by volume.


This should be confirmed by Nokia’s Q1 results on April 19th vs Samsung’s expected 92M. Β Nokia’s mobile phones alone at 93.9M last quarter would have been enough (+ the smartphones to secure that top spot a little bit more). Instead both mobile phones and smartphones collapsed. 93.9M to 71M and 19m to 12M.

Here’s another interesting look from Horace of Asymco.

I don’t really have time to think this through right now, have to finish picking up a few bits before I leave. Darn Carphone Warehouse was supposed to deliver my phone on Tuesday and still today it’s not here. Gah.


Thanks Damen for the tip.



Category: Nokia

About the Author ()

Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablogΒ and Β Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]
  • Stound

    Im waiting for nokia to take its crown back

  • Nevveeerrr !!!!

  • MeeGo > Windows Phone

    Jay, you Samsung paid poster! Just kidding!

    Joking aside, Samsung is gonna be my next phone if Nokia doesn’t release a high end Nokia N9 successor with dedicated camera button and PureView! πŸ˜›

    • kunwar

      so you are gonna get pureview on samsung?

      • MeeGo > Windows Phone

        It’s either Samsung Galaxy S III or N9 successor, preferably the latter for me. PureView is optional for me.

        Imagine a Nokia N9 successor with 1.5 GHz single core, dual core or quad core! Not to mention PureView with a dedicated camera button. And removeable battery. Now this is more exciting than Windows Phone

        • ashok pai

          meego with pureview would have been mindblowing

          • legion

            But other than hardcore nokia fans who will buy it . Entering with a new OS in Q3 of 2011 , meego was destined to fail

            • Saul

              Nah not really, it’s impossible for your or anyone to know that.
              Smartphone market’s still growing hugely, there was/is plenty of room for new players to squeeze in.
              They’ve just got to have gonads….
              The FUD that “there can only be three” is just that.
              Would be way nicer having 6 or so than the 3 some big guns are trying to engineer.

        • Saul

          There would’ve been one with similar (or slightly better) core components to the SGSII on shelves in some countries by now.
          Anyone that’s had much to do with the harmattan/meego dev community since day one knows that.
          The sw would’ve been more nicely optimized for the hw than any android about now ofc.

  • yes i hope Nokia can get the crown back with lumia family and 808 pureview

  • MeeGo > Windows Phone

    I’ve noticed in catalogues that there are very little Nokia phones advertised compared to Androids and iPhones.

    Anyone notice this?

  • noki

    Heads need to roll, Elop fired now!

    Nokia can keep the strategy specially after destroying all the bridges, But some one as to pay for this disaster.

    • MeeGo > Windows Phone

      Elop is now fired? Yay!

      Ding dong the witch is dead! Ding dong the wicked witch is dead!

    • a3x

      Heads need to roll..

      Are you from Spain?

  • Svedu

    As an owner of Nokia shares, that someone is actually me..

    • snoflake

      +1, take a ticket, join the queue

  • esbo

    Q4 vs Q1 comparison is not clever. Q4 is very special because of Christmas sales. IMO numbers should be compared with last years Q1 numbers. Q1 ’11: 108.5 handsets, 24.2 smartphones :S Oh no!

    I have been thinking today why on earth did/do Nokia have a reason to build a third ecosystem? What’s the point in three ecosystems for Nokia?

    • t t

      That 3rd ecosystem is from Microsoft agenda.

      Nokia had possibility have its own ecosystem. Now they are building ecosystem for MS and share holders (I included) are going to pay it.

      • Dave

        Nokia had been doing a piss poor job with its own own ecosystem, if you remember, it was called Ovi.

    • Maybe

      The third ecosystem was and still now is QT… Elop keep on brainwashing with WP ecosystem….

    • dr_zorg

      That’s an erroneous conclusion.

      Q1 is actually just as good or better than Q4 because of the Chinese New Year and related holidays (which take place during Q1).

      Most companies (except Nokia of course) see their sales permanently grow during Q4 and Q1.

  • masood.alkhter

    I like samsung phones,but i prefer nokia. i hate apple iphones are over priced & they like brian washing ppl. Dont samsung make screens for Nokia phones?

  • MeeGo > Windows Phone

    Samsung is beating Nokia S40/S30/Asha/610 with affordable smartphones such as Samsung Galaxy Ace and Y.

    New phone buyers are adopting smartphones. I saw this really old lady looking at pics on her smartphone, pinch to zoom, etc. – pretty cool. LOL!

    I think Nokia should drop dumbphones such as S40/S30/Asha and concentrate on affordable MeeGo Phones with multitasking to counter the affordable Samsung Galaxy Ace and Y.

    Maybe selling a MeeGo with multitasking phone with 710 body at an affordable price – 100 to 200 dollars

    • Or at least bring SmarterPhone to the market. Or put multi-tasking abilities to S40 for temporary solution.

    • esbo

      Symbian should go to its last fight against cheap-droids! Nokia 500, you have a lot on your shoulders right now…

      Meltemi or smarterphone can’t come too soon. Once people go Android, it’s a bit harder to get them back to Nokia users in the future.

    • KF

      603 and 700 are both cheaper than the Galaxy Ace and wayyy better in terms of specs, performance, capabilities, features, etc… but salesman (atleast here where I live) are recommending the Ace because “It is Android and it has more apps” and talk some bad things about Nokia as in S60v5 days. Not to mention the lack of advertising of their symbian devices even in countries where Lumia aren’t being introduced yet.

      • KF

        * dumb salesmen…

  • Kan

    OPK presided over a large loss of shareholder value. But its time to stop using that as a defence of Elop. Here are the cold hard numbers.

    June 29, 2007 – 28.11 – $105.27bn mkt cap
    Sept 21, 2010 – 9.87 – $36.96bn mkt cap
    April 11, 2012 – 4.24 – $15.878bn

    OPK lost 65% of Nokia value in just under 39 months at a rate of 1.678% per month.

    ELop lost so far 57% in just under 19 months at a rate of 3.046% per month.

    3.046 / 1.678 = 1.816

    Elop has been losing value at nearly twice the rate OPK was. Now defend that.

    However the worst part is that with Nokia market cap at $15.878 and EV at 7.83bn. Nokia are now defintely a possibility for a hostile play by the Private Equity bandits.

    Well done Elop. Well done indeed.

    • ashok pai

      but but. didn’t elop inherit a mess ?

      symbian was already in a slide & belle should have been launched with N8

      besides, elop did get some cash infusion from his erstwhile/ current boss ?

      the burning memo actually fired up nokia employees to deliver some worldclass windows phone only Lumia 800 design, din’t it ? (hmm, a few nokia employees got fired in that process, but what’s the big deal, they were going downhill anyways! besides, finland has a lot of talented people to come up with new phone companies, no ?

      i don’t blame elop at all! not one bit!


      • blame should go 100% to Elop for putting complete trust on Windows Phone, which itself is a sinking ship…

        At least Elop shouldn’t have announced Symbian/Meegos death directly or indirectly..

        He did this just for Microsoft not for the good of Nokia!

        • ashok pai

          i think you missed the /s = sarcasm tag at the end πŸ˜›

          • oops sorry, my bad!

    • Johnny Tremaine

      Your numbers are spot on, and looking at their present valuation, I don’t see how they remain a stand alone independent company for another year.

      As you pointed out, their present state puts them in play for either an outright acquisition or a hostile takeover and break up of the various units (basic phones, smartphones and network equipment).

      It’s bewildering to think that in 2013, both Nokia and RIM likely won’t exist as they do now. Cest la vie, that’s the tech industry for you.

    • Dave

      Since you like the dishonest and flawed way of comparing relative numbers (how are those cholestorol lowering drugs working out for you), Elop DOUBLED SALES of Lumia devices.

      DOUBLED! Like 2x dawg!

      From 1M to 2M. DOUBLED!

      • dr_zorg


        Did he lie? Because if he didn’t, and you are accusing him, you are guilty of libel πŸ™‚

        Are the numbers wrong?

        The market cap is not a relative number. It is measured in billions of dollars. Cold hard cash (electronic numbers, but they are real as they have real value).

        Perhaps you are the one that should check your drug cabinet and ditch the Prozacs. The world isn’t as rosy as you would have us believe.

        That simply illustrates how incompetent Elop is in another area of Nokia’s business.

        Two wrongs (double the loss and double the lumia sales to 2M) don’t make a right.

        • Dave

          Uhm yeah, sue me. What country are you in?

          The market cap numbers are real, but things like:

          “OPK lost 65% of Nokia value in just under 39 months at a rate of 1.678% per month.

          ELop lost so far 57% in just under 19 months at a rate of 3.046% per month.

          3.046 / 1.678 = 1.816
          ” are just gymnastics that give statistics its bad name. Not to mention completely wrong, if you lose 1.678% per month then after 39 months you’ve lost 0.98322^39 or about 50%, and of course 1.678% was also a much larger piece of the pie than the 3.046% of what was left.

          Stick with the real numbers is all I ask πŸ™‚

          It’s also ridiculous to dump these woes on Elop, he was saddled with a sinking ship, he doesn’t have some magic wand, the Nokia board decided to change the strategy and for better or for worse it is being implemented.

          Nokia has been around for a long time, and has adapted several times. They are not going under.

  • Unless Nokia will bring some proper (and I mean Proper) alternate to an OS that can be customized, feature-rich, real-multi-tasking, low-power-hungry, medium-price-range smartphones back in Market with proper (Proper) promotion soon, the figures will continue to decline.

    Symbian’s sales are always high but well ranks continue to show they are coming down too fast and that is never a good sign. Reasons are clear and most of those are still unattended. Belle is good and specially now since FP1 is out as well it is good but there are still “issues” for users like me who continue to think to look else where and obviously there are many of those who have looked elsewhere. For most of them/us WindowsPhone is not the answer even if they/us don’t hate WP but it is just not the answer with its current status. and We need an alternative or else we will be reason to add more bumps in these figures.

    • MeeGo > Windows Phone

      Affordable MeeGo phones with multitasking…

    • ashok pai

      you are looking at meego, amigo!

      • Ruben

        indeed, what your asking is called “N9”

      • I know, I am aware of it. And as much as I love N9 (not the owner of N9 sadly) but I am also talking about the future devices based on those parameters. Let’s say MeeGo will not come than what else do we have? We are only hearing names right now but nothing on surface.

        Good specs, good browsing power, good optics, good processor, good ram, quality regular apps, and not to forget World wide release with proper Promotion – for the near future along with or after 808.

      • One more thing to note, I am not talking only about those few OSes Nokia owns. I am also including a better limitless version of WindowsPhone too. I am talking about replacement of such OS that we could do things our way like we are used to and cannot do with both those OSes (WP and iOS). Those two OSes are perfect in their current status for a specific group of users and there is nothing wrong in it.

        The wrong is, there are no options left for users like me considering the near future other than of course Android. Now either some company pick webOS and give it a shot after fixing it in some really good body under really superb brand or Symbian guys grow balls to fix things to make a full use of Symbian’s power, including giving it some processor and ram boost it deserve. I don’t care about the screen resolution. But yes I would like to have a good browser, in term of speed (also in Opera Mobile too), which I think need some processing.

  • Sad news. I own two Samsungs right now, but I don’t like their black uniformity. White Lumia would be better.

  • Kan

    From Horace post from the link above. This categorises it brilliantly.

    The decisions were not driven by whether the products would be hired for different jobs, but that they would hit different price points. In other words, segmentation of customers by their ability to pay for devices rather than categorization of the jobs they hired mobile devices to do.

    OPK presided over a large loss of shareholder value. But its time to stop using that as a defence of Elop. Here are the cold hard numbers.

    June 29, 2007 – 28.11 – $105.27bn mkt cap
    Sept 21, 2010 – 9.87 – $36.96bn mkt cap
    April 11, 2012 – 4.24 – $15.878bn

    OPK lost 65% of Nokia value in just under 39 months at a rate of 1.678% per month.

    ELop lost so far 57% in just under 19 months at a rate of 3.046% per month.

    3.046 / 1.678 = 1.816

    Elop has been losing value at nearly twice the rate OPK was. Now defend that.

    However the worst part is that with Nokia market cap at $15.878 and EV at 7.83bn. Nokia are now defintely a possibility for a hostile play by the Private Equity bandits.

    Well done Elop. Well done indeed.

    • Janne

      How many times are you going to copy-paste that?

      As for the content, yes there are measurements by which Elop has done worse than OPK. But OPK inherited a healthier operation. That is certainly one major difference.

      But I’m not going to defend Elop’s mishandling of the Symbian transition. Clearly that part of the new strategy failed and that is Elop’s mistake. I am more hopeful for the Lumia strategy, of course.

      P.S. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone panics and fires Elop. But Nokia would only be worse off by such a dramatic move now.

      • So Vatar

        We should not excuse the failure of one CEO with the failure of another CEO. The new CEO was brought in to address the failures of the previous CEO and to turn the ship around. Instead of that the new CEO accelerated the decline.

        Also note that Nokia’s value is now close to Nokia’s cash on hand. This means the market values Nokia’s operations as almost valueless.

        Looking at is from this side Flop managed Nokia’s ongoing operations down to Zero value!!!

        • The ship is turning around right now. AT&T executive has said that Lumia 900 sales are “better than expected”.

          • Doffen

            “Better than expected” means exactly what? Real number are what counts. Less than 500k a quarter is a fiasco, more than 1million a success.

            • Dave

              AT&T sells 1.8 million non-iPhones per quarter, to suggest that 1 million of these are going to be L900’s at the expense of mostly Android as a measure of succes is just a way of guaranteeing you get to shout failure at the end.

              500k would not be a bad number for AT&T L900 only.

      • This Q1 or perhaps Q2 is going to be the lowest point. Things are definitely worse than expected, but 3 % loss is far from being a tragedy.

      • Doffen

        Let’s not forget that Elop more or less EOLed the N9 also…

      • dr_zorg

        How is firing of incompetence a worse move?

        What kind of logic are you using?

        ANYONE even without formal training in economics can do better than Elop. You could put my cat in the CEO chair and she wouldn’t do worse – because as a cat, she can’t be as stupid as Elop (or as evil).

    • Dave

      You can not divide percentages and rates like that.

  • Kan

    Man I have posted the same thing twice.

    Anyway The most salient part of Horace post is that Nokia is stll bent on segmenting by price. This is a massive mistake but it seems the three clueless amigos – Elop, Mcdowell, Harlow will carry on regardless.

    • McDowell is actually doing well with her job. It’s just that people are slowly moving to smartphones – especially teens because they think having the ability to ‘pinch to zoom’ is cool.

  • Ruben

    Sad news… very sad. Do they really listen to their fans/costumers? how many people are asking Meego return? Can they say that there is no costumer demand for that?? A true phonebomb is needed to outcome competitors.

    People buy what they can afford. Can Nokia compete with samsung when Galaxy SII (a dual-core!)here in Portugal costs around 400 EUR, and it’s selling Lumia 800 at around 500/600 EUR? and N9 around the same price?

    People are asking for better phones at lower prices. Samsung is delivering. Nokia is not. Sad but true. I can only recall a good phone at a good price here being Nokia 700 at 250 EUR.

    I had my N9 because of the protocol my company has with vodafone. If not for that i couldn’t afford an N9 or a Lumia.

    The big question here is that Nokia handsets (the top ones) are expensive. They must find a way to bring them more cheap, keeping the quality.

    Even though, i will only stop using nokia phones if they stop existing. Can’t trade the good cameras and good audio quality, as well as the good multimedia nokia provides (N8 is a multimedia monster, even with a processor below 1Ghz – i wish i had one).

    Now N8 was (and is) a hell of a phone. But again, 500/600 EUR is not appealing.

    Prices. All comes down to prices.

    • MeeGo > Windows Phone

      Not to mention the N9 has been getting rave reviews! Elop is crazy!

      • legion

        web os devices also used to get rave reviews . but look at what happened to it .

        • Saul

          Comparison is far too simplistic…
          (so is the comment you’re replying to)
          You can’t draw parallels there, very different stories.
          It would be being disingenuous to both platforms.

  • AlOnE

    1. Microsoft need to give privilege for Nokia to push out WP8 earlier than scheduled.
    – July is most ideal: prior iphone 5 or sgs3 launch (well impossible anyway)

    2. Keep Symbian alive and downscale it to low/mid-end range, re-declare that they wouldn’t stop supporting this platform.
    – I believe no one would complain about Symbian with extreme low price point, and it would be the most completed and powerful low-end phones ever;
    Dumb-phones and low-end smartphones are seriously overlapping, they couldn’t despise this.


    .::Side note::.

    I still couldn’t understand why does Nokia decided to risk themselves, diving into WP platform just to BE DIFFERENT than others.. whilst the platform is totally unfavorable :S

    They should had adopted Samsung/HTC strategy to manufacture Android/WP at once, alongside their own OS (if they want); Regaining market-share should be prioritized! Not some kind of pointless-reputation-defence like: “hey, look! we’re different!”
    (Yea right.. other than nokia’s one would really care shyt :S)

    and when everything went stabilized, push out greatly polished Nokia OS; Samsung is doing really well with this: using Android to back them up, slowly develop and eventually push out a fully polished OS – Tizen.

    • MeeGo > Windows Phone

      I agree!

      Yeah, Android and MeeGo for Nokia. Just concentrate on these 2. Like how Samsung is concentrating on Android and Tizen.

      Nokia should get rid of dumbphones (S30/S40) and Windows Phone. These phones are not selling well!

      • But Samsung is THE ONLY ONE OEM FINANCIALLY THRIVING WITH ANDROID. (Plus Huawei, perhaps.)

        HTC, Motorola, Sony, LG… all are underperforming and Android just doesn’t help them.

        Even Google makes four times more money from iOS than from Android.

        • Dude wtf

          Your point? Compared to their Windows Phones Android is selling really well.

          So android is still the best thing that they have.

    • t t

      I agree totally!

  • I hate what the “ANAL”ysts are advising Elop to do — sell the Mobile Phone division together with the related patents & just focus on the Smart Devices. That’s really idiotic given that a lot of Nokia’s market share / profits / sales are coming from that division.

    • But the bigger part of their loss in Q1 probably comes from “dumb” phones.

      • Johnny Tremaine

        Yes, but dumb phones are their past, and the numbers are declining over time.

        Smart phones are where the whole industry is moving to.

        It’s seen likely now that Nokia will very likely split up into smaller companies, sell off many of its patents, even its Navteq mapping unit, and become a much smaller, leaner company.

        Sort of like HTC.

  • s3m44

    Nokia should well considered to push the sales of their new Nokia Belle phones in their major markets.

    After the WP strategy, some of the large markets stop the sales and promotion for any Symbian phones. This hurts the sales and revenue, which is important for Nokia at this stage. The belle phones are more competitive now in mid-range with a small push in promotion and local app support.

    Nokia should make good use of the assets they have on hand, and now is the harvest time for the Symbian OS. There is no point to not have a push on the sell of the belle phones in major markets, esp. the belle phones has a lower cost (higher profit margin) than the Lumia.

  • Sefriol

    It’s waste of time to talk Nokia’s future or it’s strategy right now. At the end of the year we can say if Elop has succeeded or failed in his job.
    It’s almost impossible to fire Elop at this state. He is doing his best to go the way Nokia’s leaders decided to go an year ago.
    Elop has done mistakes (saying that Symbian is a burning platform, no more Meego Phones [You should never say never. He should have said it might be an option even if it wasn’t.].
    In addition there wasn’t many new phones to start with. From the last December to this day there has been only 2 phones from Nokia. Both Lumia which is unknown for a lot people. 808 should have been out when it was announced.
    Without the burning platform words and 808 being available, Symbian would still be a huge hit. Unfortunately, I think 808 wont sell much. It might have same amount of sells as N9 did. Even N9 came 2 months too late. During the summer it would have been a huge hit.

    • There is no way Symbian could be a hit these days. It’s just a pure fairy tale, 199% impossible in this universe.

      Just face a reality, please.

      • Doffen

        Still sells more than WP…

        • legion

          ya , cheap 100 dollar symbian phones outsell 500 dollar windows phone . so, whats your point ?

          • dr_zorg

            Majority of WP phones are given out almost for free as nobody buys them. The only sales are on contract for free or 99.99 (essentially same price as far as consumers are concerned) to people unfamiliar that WP Nokia is different to Symbian Nokia. What’s YOUR point?

          • KF

            which symbian cost 100$?? tell me I would go buy it immediately πŸ˜›

            • Dave

              You realize these are S60 phones? Sure you want them?

    • Saul

      konttori hinted at his frustrations about that in his blog.
      He subtly suggested that it could’ve come out a few mths earlier.
      And when 1.1 come out so soon after the N9 that seemed self evident.
      Hmmmm, I wonder why it didn’t….

  • Gst

    Main reason for decline in Nokia sales is mainly their attitude of forcing people to buy what they dont want to on other hand gives wide range for their user so customer can buy what suits them most.symbian sales are decreased mainly because nokia has stopped shipping their symbian phones in favour of wp7 without knowing needs of people in that country.Even in India it is very hard to buy new belle devices after the release of wp7,it is either out of stock or priced very high compared to other devices.If Nokia had given equal chance for all their os,it would not have been in this position now.

  • Janne

    What is especially dramatic is the fall in Asha/mobile phones. Apparently the platform was indeed burning in mobile phones. Sonic and Meltemi can’t get here quick enough.

    Just to piss people off, but now Nokia is a challenger. That is good news! ;D

    I kid.

  • Srikanth

    Nokia 808 is going to push the Nokia to the top.
    Already there is much improvement with Belle FP1.

    I have used Lumia 710, god there is no such phone in the market which works as fine as a windows phone apart from limited multitasking and Bad UI(IMO).

    I think Nokia did the best by joining Microsoft.
    In my opinion, Windows phone Apollo and later versions will nearly if possible become same as Windows 7 on PC and which eventually beat every phone in the market, no matter what Nokia market cap would become (They know it dude, they are much better than us). It’s just temporary.

    Just take a look at the F specs of Android devices.
    *Bleeep* They can run Computer Windows 7 with ease and they are just phones!, imagine what specs do they need to run Computers Windows 7 equivalent Android Operating system!!!???
    Android is a fail.
    Windows is a Win.

    Me and you like to buy phones, which are more funner, faster and cheaper.

    Let’s see what is gonna happen in this battle of technology and future.

    • Janne

      I’m actually using the 710 now as my daily driver, because I like its looks so much. Black on magenta (or whatever was the name of that color). It is a surprisingly good phone for the price. Very underrated I think.

      Soon it will be joined by a red (yes, I think I’ve decided on the color) 808. Can’t wait. πŸ™‚ Of course there is the N9, N8, E7, Lumia 800, SGS2, Optimus 7 from LG and some others (N97, 3210, 2010! and what else) here as well…

      Got to keep myself armed. You never know when you have to have the tools to have a debate on MNB from wherever I am. πŸ˜‰

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  • twig

    Samsung/Android and iphone have an advantage of ageing models that carriers love to sell at $.19 or $.10 plus contract. The reason is the carriers can make the same profits on the contracts and not have to kick in as much to bring down the cost of new phones. At the end of 2011, the carriers I went into told me the iphone sold the most because it was a penny. Some people could afford a 4S but the old 3 beat it. In a short time the Lumia will have some older models when Apollo comes and I expect you’ll see
    great deals for the carrier on Nokia then too. Expect Samsung to keep making the numbers til then. This also is why the greatest, most specs filled phones is not what the carriers really want all the time, though it drives in the traffic. If the phone is a $.19 older model or $1500 model, the call and data fees are the same on contract. I actually think Samsung is setting itself up for a fall with Google. I think Google is letting them build up the business and then knock them out with Moto. Google has never liked to share.