ABI: Apple and Samsung have over 55 percent of the smartphone space, 90 percent of its money-making

Tech finance sleuth Horace Dediu was clearly astute when he determined that it's really Apple and Samsung's smartphone world, and we just live in it. ABI Research just estimated that, combined, the iPhone and Galaxy creators were responsible for more than 90 percent of the profits in the first quarter of 2012 -- mostly through carving out more than 55 percent of the total market share for themselves. We already know that only a handful of companies, like HTC, were making any kind of profit at the same time; ABI, however, has underscored just how much of a mountain Nokia has to climb to reclaim its glory days. For Nokia to completely make up for Symbian's decline, shipments of Lumia phones will have to jump a staggering 5,000 percent this year. The Finnish phone maker is certainly hopeful, but with the 80 percent growth rate in China mostly being led by locals like Huawei and ZTE, that's no mean feat.

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Apple and Samsung Garner 50% of Global Smartphone Market and 90% of Its Profits, Says ABI Research

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Although smartphone shipments grew 41% year-over-year to 144.6 million as of the quarter ending March 2012, many smartphone OEMs are not enjoying the benefits of a rapidly expanding market. Samsung and Apple captured 55% of global smartphone shipments in 1Q'2012 and over 90% of the market's profits. The question remains: can anyone break away to become a strong third in this market?

"At this point in the year, Nokia will have to grow its Windows Phone business 5000% in 2012 just to offset its declines in Symbian shipments"
Of the top ten smartphone OEMs, only Samsung and Sony experienced sequential growth in shipments over 4Q'2011. Nokia witnessed a 40% sequential decline in shipments and may soon be passed by ailing RIM in shipments despite the BlackBerry maker's 20% sequential decline in shipments. "At this point in the year, Nokia will have to grow its Windows Phone business 5000% in 2012 just to offset its declines in Symbian shipments," says Michael Morgan, senior analyst, devices, applications & content.

Table: Select Smartphone Vendor Shipments, 1Q'2012

(Millions of units)

Apple 35
Huawei 6.8
Nokia 11.9
RIM 11.1
Samsung 43
Sony 7
ZTE 4.9

Source: ABI Research

As the smartphone markets of North America and Western Europe pass 50% penetration, smartphone OEMs should seek growth in key markets, such as China, which continues to show strong shipment growth of over 80%.

Despite the shipment growth opportunities that China offers, smartphone OEMs will have to contend with local vendors ZTE and Huawei whose cost structures are tailored to deliver smartphones and homologated content ecosystems at the lower price points needed to drive growth across the country. "As Nokia's market share in China plummets, the competition to fill this power vacuum has the potential to make or break smartphone OEMs currently struggling with profitability and differentiation," adds Jeff Orr, practice director, devices, applications & content.

ABI Research's "Smartphone Market Data" ( provides quarterly global and regional data for smartphone operating systems, ASPs, vendor market shares, revenues, air interface protocols, and technology attach rates.

It is part of ABI Research's Smartphones & Mobile Devices Research Service (