IDC: Samsung Ships Twice as Many Smartphones as Apple in Q2’12

IDC: 406 million smartphones were shipped into the channel in Q2’12. Here is the short version of the press release with brand, shipments, market share, and growth:

  1. Samsung: 50.2M, 32.6%, +172.8% Y/Y
  2. Apple: 26.0M, 16.9%, +27.5% Y/Y
  3. Nokia: 10.2M, 6.6%, -38.9% Y/Y
  4. HTC: 8.8M, 5.7%, -24.1% Y/Y
  5. ZTE: 8.0M, 5.2%, +300.0% Y/Y
  6. Others: 50.7M, 32.9%, +29.3% Y/Y

Samsung has pulled ahead! ZTE is going gangbusters! Samsung shipped twice as many smartphones as Apple!

The first thing we need to keep in mind: IDC as well as every other market research firm tracks estimated shipments, as in shipments into the channel, shipments to wholesalers, distributors, retailers, etc. The reason why market research firms estimate shipments into the channel instead of tracking sales to the end user is because smartphone sales to end users on a global basis is impossible to track.

IDC is comparing apples to oranges here. Except for Apple the metric is shipments into the channel. Apple’s number is sales to the end user and sales to the end user is only a subset of shipments. In other words shipment into the channel is a much larger number than sales to the end user. To mix the two is sloppy market research and misleading.

If I were to guess at sales to end user numbers, Samsung would continue to be on top but with a number that is much closer to Apple’s: about 30-35M.