The folks at Samsung can claim a small victory for the Galaxy S III smartphone as it surpassed any other smartphone (including the iPhone 4S) as the most popular choice among buyers in the third quarter of 2012. This is a statistical victory, but it doesn’t translate to the downfall of the iPhone. In fact, if you added the sales figures of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, the sales numbers top the Samsung Galaxy S III with plenty of room to spare.
During Q3 of 2012, the Samsung Galaxy S III sold 18 million units worldwide. The iPhone 4S sold 16.2 million with the iPhone 5 moving 6 million units during just over a week of availability.
This victory may be short-lived as the iPhone 5 only had nine days of sales in the quarter and many iOS fans were holding off (wisely) for the new model. The next quarter will include some highly publicized Android devices including the new Nexus 4, LG Optimus G, and others. That will undoubtedly spread the sales figures out a bit in the next quarter. That doesn’t mean this wasn’t a significant finding.
Here’s what we certainly can learn from these numbers. The Galaxy S III is posing a serious threat to iPhone sales. Even with cheaper options available, Android users appear to appreciate the feature-packed device and have no problem picking one up. iPhone sales are closer than they’ve ever been to a single Android device’s numbers for a quarter, but this could easily be attributed to bad timing. The iPhone 4S had been out for some time, and the iPhone 5 only just became available.
In Q4, the Galaxy S III is an aging choice. It isn’t the fresh new face on the market anymore, despite extremely high amounts of advertising being done both in traditional media and online. To expect this momentum to carry into 2013 would be a tough sell, especially since Samsung is bound to come up with a new version of the flagship Galaxy phone before too long.
What is more interesting to me are the 127+ million “other” smartphones that sold during the quarter. If anything, it says that there is no shortage of choice in the current market. The Galaxy Note II, HTC One X, etc. are all very viable options. Even Windows Phone 8 is generating a fair amount of buzz with the latest Nokia and HTC devices coming to market this quarter.
Oh, and another interesting report out there shows that the iPhone isn’t even in the top five list of smartphones in China. That’s a fairly big market for Apple not to be a top player.
I wouldn’t take this statistic as a nail in the coffin of the iPhone. It’s still the top-selling family of smartphones on the market today. At least for now, Samsung can enjoy this small statistical victory.