20 February 2013Strategy Analytics:
Apple’s iPhone 5 smartphone model shipped an estimated 27.4 million units worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2012. The iPhone 5 captured an impressive 13 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally and it has become the world’s best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever. A rich touchscreen design, extensive distribution across dozens of countries, and generous operator subsidies have been among the main causes of the iPhone 5’s success. In addition to the iPhone 5, Apple shipped an estimated 17.4 million iPhone 4S units for 8 percent smartphone share globally in Q4 2012. Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S are currently the world’s two most popular smartphone models.
TechCrunch ran the story with the stance that the iPhone 5 “becoming” the world’s number one handset was a revelation. However, seeing as the Galaxy S III is over six months old, it is to be expected that sales of that device are falling off. In addition, the iPhone 5 has technically existed for two quarters, but in Q3 it was only available for six days. “Becoming” number one in the next quarter, in which the iPhone 5 would be on sale for every single day of the period, was practically an inevitability.
To me, the surprising element of these statistics is the continued prevalence of the 4S, which placed second in the race for best-selling smartphone in the fourth quarter1. Strategy Analytics’ data suggests that the sales mix of the year-old device is around 35%. I may be misremembering but I don’t think the proportion is normally that high for the obsolesce iPhone models.
1 This phone was supposedly a disappointing product in late 2011, let alone late 2012.