The first quarter of this year was the moment when Samsung outnumbered Nokia in the quantity of devices sold. This was expected because the Finnish company is on a descending path for some time. Asymco.com offers an interesting perspective about how Nokia was deposed by Samsung.
How were things in the last five years?
In the first quarter of 2007, Samsung was selling almost three times less devices than Nokia. Most of them were featured phones, the number of devices being insignificant. Only in 2010 the smartphone sales of the South Korean company started to grow and reached almost 50% of Samsung devices this year. The conclusion is simple: Samsung knew how to take advantage of Android OS, and also the big number of devices covering all prices categories helped the Asian company a lot. On the other side Nokia maintained in the last five years the number of smartphones sold to 10-20% of all their devices. Nokia wanted to maintain the market for feature phones, and kept the prices high for smartphones. This thing also made them lose the market in front of cheap Android devices. Also in the last year and a half Symbian OS lost a lot in front of Windows Phone.
According to a press release, in the first quarter of this year Nokia sold 71 million feature phones and 12 million smartphones from which almost 2 million are with Windows Phone 7 OS. So the total number of devices sold is approximately 83 million.
Unfortunately, for now we do not have some exact data from Samsung, but the estimated numbers for the first 2012 quarter are 41-44 million smartphones and 44-47 million feature phones. So the estimations are that the South Korean producer sold 85-90 million devices.
Flexibility vs. Lack of Vision
Remember when a Nokia device meant quality and the users were saying NO to Samsung? That time is gone, and now Samsung Galaxy S III is watched with the same interest as iPhone 5, while the Nokia N series is almost forgotten. As time went by, the Finnish company divided its mobile phone portfolio according to specifications, and the Symbians OS devices were at a high price because it offered more features.
Samsung was flexible and divided its devices in price categories. If the customer does not have money for a Galaxy S II or Galaxy Note, it is not a problem problem: he can buy Galaxy Gio or Galaxy Y. Aren’t they enough? Then here is Galaxy mini 2 and Galaxy Pocket! In the last minute Nokia realized what is happening and launched 5230, C5-03, and Nokia 500 models.
What is next?
Prospects are not so good for Nokia. Even if they were successful with Lumia models, the sales are pretty small compared with Android OS and iOS devices. Nokia Company is still helped by the massive sales of mobile phones without Symbian OS, but this will not last forever.
As for Samsung, after they declared higher income than Nokia, went for a higher target. How could they have a device that in terms of price and number of units sold could really compete with iPhone? How can they manufacture cheaper Android devices that can be sold a lot better on markets such as China, India and Africa? Everybody wants a Galaxy Nexus, but in their pocket they have money only for a Galaxy Pocket.