Apple Trumps Samsung On U.S. Phone Shipments To Become Top Mobile Vendor

By Alexandra Burlacu email: | Feb 03, 2013 09:58 PM EST

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Apple has overtaken South Korean electronics giant Samsung to become the top mobile phone vendor in the U.S., according to new data from Strategy Analytics.

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The epic battle between Apple and Samsung has been going on for a while and it increasingly intensified, heating up competition between the two heavyweights.

Research firm Strategy Analytics released a new report on Friday, Feb. 1, estimating that Apple shipped 17.7 million phones in the fourth quarter of 2012, seizing 34 percent of the overall market share of mobile phone sales in the U.S.

Samsung has been the top mobile phone vendor since 2008, but Strategy Analytics now paints a slightly different picture. During the same period, i.e. the fourth quarter of 2012, Samsung shipped 16.8 million mobile phones, grabbing a 32 percent market share of the overall U.S. market.

"Apple has become the number one mobile phone vendor by volume in the United States for the first time ever," noted Strategy Analytics. "Apple's success has been driven by its popular ecosystem of iPhones and App Store, generous carrier subsidies, and extensive marketing around the new iPhone 5 model."

"Samsung had been the number one mobile phone vendor in the US since 2008, and it will surely be keen to recapture that title in 2013 by launching improved new models such as the rumored Galaxy S4," added the research firm.

Meanwhile, LG kept its position as the third largest player in the U.S. mobile phone market. Strategy Analytics estimates that LG shipped 4.7 million units, gaining a 9 percent share of the market.

During a conference call with analysts last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook reported record sales of iPhones and iPads in recent months, and the latest numbers from Strategy Analytics seem to support that statement.

On the other hand, although Apple hit record numbers, Wall Street analysts are still not convinced that the Cupertino giant's streamlined product offerings can keep up with the diverse line-up Samsung has to offer.

Meanwhile, Apple's climb in terms of market share marks the company's first time as the No. 1 mobile phone vendor in the U.S. Strategy Analytics further notes that the increase also seems to mirror on overall growth in mobile phone shipments in the U.S. In the fourth quarter of 2012, shipments in the country hit 52 million units, marking a 4 percent increase compared to the same quarter the previous year, when 50.2 million units were shipped, according to the firm's estimations.

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