iPhone 5 outsells Galaxy S III globally for the first time

An analyst has indicated that the iPhone 5 outsold the Samsung Galaxy S III globally for the first time in Q4 2012, citing the iPhone's "rich touchscreen, extensive distribution and generous operator subsidies" as reasons for its quarterly victory.

The research pins iPhone 5 sales at 27.4 million in Q4 2012, while the Galaxy S III sold just 15.4 million. The iPhone 4S, surprisingly, came in at 17.4 million units sold. Apple's iPhone captured a 20 percent global handset market share, while Samsung captured an estimated 7 percent. Neither Apple nor Samsung release sales figures per quarter, so these numbers are estimates. 

A point to note is the age of the two handsets. The Galaxy S III was released in May 2012, making it slightly older than the iPhone 5, which was released last year in September. The Galaxy IV is already being hyped, which may have caused consumers to layoff buying the S III in preparation for the newer, faster, better S IV. However, the iPhone 4S outsold the S III despite being launched 7 months before the S III (October 2011), which creates a more even playing field. 

When combined, the iPhone 5 and 4S account for one in five handsets sold worldwide, an incredible statistic when you consider they're both premium-priced devices and come from one manufacturer. This could be down to several factors, including the quality of the materials used (glass and metal for the iPhones, plastic for the Samsung) as well as OS updates (Apple can wirelessly push updates which bypass carrier restrictions, while Android users have to wait months for updates to be approved by carriers and then handset manufactures). 

Source: Strategy Analytics via TechCrunch | Image via Digital Trends

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Third-party game devs spotted in NYC ahead of PlayStation event tonight

Next Story

Microsoft expands Imagine Cup to include a focus on women

71 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

What is so misleading is the facts are fully presented. The iPhone 5 outsold the GS3 for a single quarter...that's it. Samsung had already sold 30M GS3's before the forth quarter even started. So it is Apple who had to play catch up.

Also, Apple's huge plus is the fact, their first quarter which happens to fall during the biggest shopping season is everyone else 4th quarter when they usually get lesser sales.

To also be more fair, the GS3 had been on sale since May vs the iPhone 5 appearing much later. Comparing sales of a brand new released device vs one that already has been on sale is lame.

Fcat is, the GS3 was the smart[phone of the year. It has more sales vs the iPhone 5. It had a 9M preorder buy vs iPhone 5 at less than 5 million. Apple sold 30M of the single model over 2 quarters vs Samsung who sold 40M+ in the same period.

The article tho factual depends on how you are looking at it. When the iPhone 5 was officially announced...both the sales of the 4S and the GS3 went very high as it shows no one was really happy with the 5. basically buying the 4s is smarter bec it is cheaper and the 5 offered nothing new. just .5" of more screen and a faster CPU.

While the S3 offered a huge difference over the GS2.

All the APple fans see is APple beat Samsung...even if it just a single quarter.
What this does show is this...the iPhone is one phone made up of many models, the Galaxy is also one phone made up of many models and I think this puts to rest the fact, Apple isn't the only one that can sell a single modelin high quanities.

And where Samsung comes on top is they sold just as many Galaxy device as Apple sold iPhones, and Samsung sold millions of other phones on top of it. Just remember, Samsung sold over 90M phones as of Q3 2012 with 45M being of the smart variety. In fact the breakdown showed that the 45M sold were mostly the Note 2, GS2 and GS3. While at the same point, Apple who also had 3 phones on sale sold only half as many.

See when you actually paint the facts properly, it shows Apple is really far behind. Just like when Cook spoke about how they reach 10% of their user with ta new version of OSX vs MS and Windows taking longer. Well when you have 1.3B known users of Windows, yeah I guess you cant reach 10% in only a few weeks. All that does matter is even Vista made more money for Microsoft than every version of OSX and Mac OS combined. And MS still retains 90% of that market which even tho it is still growing, MS retains the biggest share and Apple cant even dent it.

Fact is Apple can sell all the phones they want. Her is another fact. Apple is the only seller of a phone that runs iOS...while Samsung has to compete against others who also use Android. Even with real competition, Samsung is kicking Apple's butt in overall sales. So the above one quarter fact is nothing but a drop in the bucket.

Apple cant even sell 50M of a single model...yet Samsung nearly did with a device that has only 3 versions of a single model vs Apple who has 6 of s single model. Motorola sold over 50M of a single model in a single year. Even the almighty apple in 6 years cant do it...and in 3 years Samsung is much closer.

The Galaxy S4 will surely sell 50M+ in a single year, while the iPhone 5S won't. Mark my words.

Your release argument is invalidated by the fact the 4S (which is coming up to two years old) sold more than the S3...

"The Galaxy S4 will surely sell 50M+ in a single year, while the iPhone 5S won't. Mark my words." I'll take you up on that bet, if you want. No way the S4 will sell 50 million.

TechieXP said,

To also be more fair, the GS3 had been on sale since May vs the iPhone 5 appearing much later. Comparing sales of a brand new released device vs one that already has been on sale is lame.


They noticed that out of the top 3 smartphones sold in Q4 2012, #1 and #2 spots were held by iPhones while #3 happened to be an Android phone from Samsung. If it makes you feel any better though, they also compared the S3 to an iPhone 4S.

Fcat is, the GS3 was the smart[phone of the year. It has more sales vs the iPhone 5.

As you mentioned, the GS3 has been out for some time and as Samsung's flagship Android device, it's bound to have sold more than the iPhone 5 so far with more than an extra quarter under its belt.

It had a 9M preorder buy vs iPhone 5 at less than 5 million.

I thought you were against misleading facts and supposedly lame comparisons. Samsung's 9M is what the carriers ordered. Apple's 5M is the amount of units actually sold to consumers in the first 3 days of launch.

Apple sold 30M of the single model over 2 quarters vs Samsung who sold 40M+ in the same period.

The iPhone 5 was only available in the last 10 days of Q3 2012 and the entirety of Q4 2012 obviously, while the Galaxy S3 has been been out since mid-Q2 2012. The iPhone 5 sold at least 32M (assuming the 27M figure is correct and I added that 5M that made up some of the sales from Q3) in 3 months while the S3 sold 40M over 7 months.

See when you actually paint the facts properly, it shows Apple is really far behind.

Sure it does. As well as the above facts, we'll just overlook that they make more profit in the smartphone market than even Samsung with its plethora of devices.

Apple is the only seller of a phone that runs iOS...while Samsung has to compete against others who also use Android.

I guess you were going for the icing on the cake. It might just be me, but I find it far more impressive that Apple's iPhone line does this well (including taking the crown of No.1 mobile phone vendor in the US albeit for 1 quarter - http://blogs.strategyanalytics...ited-States-in-Q4-2012.aspx) despite Samsung and others flooding the market with their devices.

TechieXP said,
What is so misleading is the facts are fully presented.

I also apologise for "misleading" with fully presented facts; I should've taken your approach right?

Edited by Manish, Feb 21 2013, 2:53am :

iPhone 4S sales went up drastic after the 5 was announced...so did S3 sales. Samsung came out on top overall for one model as the S3 for a single year outsold Apple on either single model. The 4S is a single model and in 2012 Samsung outsold it with the SG3....the 5 is also a single model and again the s# outsold it.

Kudos to Apple, but they still need to work on improving themselves. I love iOS, but it needs a complete overhaul i.m.o.

dtourond said,
Kudos to Apple, but they still need to work on improving themselves. I love iOS, but it needs a complete overhaul i.m.o.

If you love something, then it does not need to change. I doubt iOS is going to get an overhaul. People are flocking to iPhones and iPads so Apple does not have any reasons to change the OS.

Kunal Nanda said
If you love something, then it does not need to change. I doubt iOS is going to get an overhaul. People are flocking to iPhones and iPads so Apple does not have any reasons to change the OS.
Not necessarily true. I love Apple, but they could change a couple things. I love Windows but they could change a couple things as well. Same goes for Android, Ubuntu, etc. Just because I love something, doesn't mean that I don't think it could use some improvements.d

Galaxy S4 is to be announced next month, people are not going to be buying as many S3 they are waiting for the next big thing.

I'm sure the same happens with apple products

There was also a surge of rumors that the SIV would be announced in January/February as apposed to March like the current rumors are speculating, so that may have played a roll in the Galaxy SIII slow down for Q4 2012.

However that's neither here nor there, it got out sold fair and square.

maxslaterrobins said,
This is for the whole of Q4 (including the holiday) so I doubt the recent surge in S4 rumours had much effect. But, maybe, we'll have to see.

Why defend the report on every post, we get it, you like apple. I'm one of those that bought an iPhone 5 and it's a piece of crap, the wifi hardly ever works, the battery is a joke, and it gets stupidly hot when used on 3G or LTE. I'm gonna sell it soon and either get an S4 or HTC One

maxslaterrobins said,
I believe the report to be true...

Take your iPhone 5 back and ask for a replacement, you're the exception, not the rule.

The apple support forums are full of people with the same problems. It's a much larger issue than you think, but it appears to be ignored

-T- said,

Why defend the report on every post, we get it, you like apple. I'm one of those that bought an iPhone 5 and it's a piece of crap, the wifi hardly ever works, the battery is a joke, and it gets stupidly hot when used on 3G or LTE. I'm gonna sell it soon and either get an S4 or HTC One

Probably because his experience, if he has an iPhone, is better than yours... I do not use it but my wife is very happy with her one.

Fritzly said,

Probably because his experience, if he has an iPhone, is better than yours... I do not use it but my wife is very happy with her one.

As I said I have one too, I just seem to have the worst one, shouldn't have sold my 4S

If you think the iPhone 5's battery is a joke try using the Nexus 4. I've owned both (currently the Nexus), and Apple are miles ahead in battery

Battery life is a non issue for me. If I can squeeze out 8-10 hours of life with medium hard use I'm okay with it. I'm notorious for killing batteries on any phone by 2 PM

I just learned to have chargers in my car, office, and home.

You're right, picking a smartphone with good reviews, good customer satisfaction and good hardware/software is dumb. I prefer to buy a smartphone with very poor reviews, because that isn't dumb at all!

maxslaterrobins said,
You're right, picking a smartphone with good reviews, good customer satisfaction and good hardware/software is dumb. I prefer to buy a smartphone with very poor reviews, because that isn't dumb at all!

Don't recall a lot of positive news around the iPhone5 myself but each to their own

technikal said
Don't recall a lot of positive news around the iPhone5 myself but each to their own
Both the iPhone 5 and the S3 have flaws to them.

maxslaterrobins said
You're right, picking a smartphone with good reviews, good customer satisfaction and good hardware/software is dumb. I prefer to buy a smartphone with very poor reviews, because that isn't dumb at all!
This comment made my day.

DomZ said,
Guess how far I had to look? The Verge closing comment in their iPhone 5 review:

http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/21/3363238/iphone-5-review

and engadget's closing line:

http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/18/apple-iphone-5-review/

So what this means is that there is never going to be another new iPhone. Simply because the iPhone 5 is already perfect. You cannot improve perfection. Or maybe you can, if you are Apple. "The customers are not perfect, so we need to imperfect the perfect smartphone" - Lo and behold - iPhone 6. The imperfect smartphone for imperfect people - Perfect.

Kunal Nanda said,

So what this means is that there is never going to be another new iPhone.


No, what this means is that your comprehension is far from perfect in this instance. The Verge said: "... best iPhone ever made"; they also gave it 8.8/10 (perfect would be 10/10 obviously). Engadget said: "best iPhone yet". Clearly both are referring to iPhones in existence at that given point in time. I could say that your comment was the stupidest comment ever made or the stupidest comment yet, but neither would prevent a "new" stupidest comment arising in the future.

Edited by Manish, Feb 21 2013, 2:13am :

Enron said
Yes they is.
I've been looking at my keyboard for 5 minutes trying to figure out how you managed to right "is" instead of "are".

Don't mind me, I'm just a grammar nazi, that's all.

dtourond said,
I've been looking at my keyboard for 5 minutes trying to figure out how you managed to right "is" instead of "are".

Don't mind me, I'm just a grammar nazi, that's all.

All your base are belong to us.

dtourond said,
I've been looking at my keyboard for 5 minutes trying to figure out how you managed to right "is" instead of "are".

Don't mind me, I'm just a grammar nazi, that's all.

Its 'write,' not 'right.'

Regards from the spelling Nazis.

ngc891 said
Its 'write,' not 'right.'

Regards from the spelling Nazis.

Lol, oops In my defense, I was tired and I fell asleep at the computer several times. But yes, you're right.

I wasn't apple fan at all. but after iPhone 5 I guess I fell in love with it. the size is just right. light weight, best battery life, very nice headphone quality etc etc..


An analyst has indicated that the iPhone 5 outsold the Samsung Galaxy S III globally for the first time in Q4 2012, citing the iPhone's "rich touchscreen, extensive distribution and generous operator subsidies" as reasons for its quarterly victory.

I would say the holidays helped more...or people who didnt go from the 4 to the 4s and waited until the 5. Then you have those who were in contract.

Lets see how next quarter pans out.

iPhone 5: 27.4 million
iPhone 4S: 17.4 million

so they only sold 3 million of the free and very cheap 3gs/4? somehow I doubt these numbers.

and if apple did sell that many,dont you think they'd be bragging about it? especially during their conference call?

analysts are just trying to manipulate the market. they're probably out a lot of money after AAPL crashed. If this report is true,don't you think apple would have released this info when their stock was crashing hard?

hey there was this other analytical firm that predicted MacOS would have %47 marketshare this year. MacOS dropped %20 marketshare last quarter.

are these guys like comscore? where they ask people what device they use,and make up their marketshare charts and reports based on that? or do they do like this other firm, where they get 2 old guys that sit in a mall,and generate their reports based on that?

Where does the 3 million figure come from?

As it says in the article, neither Apple or Samsung release quarterly sales figures. Analysts may be told privately, but it isn't told to the public (closest we get are PR releases with total figures. Apple doesn't even separate iPad/iPad Mini sales numbers)

maxslaterrobins said,
Where does the 3 million figure come from?

As it says in the article, neither Apple or Samsung release quarterly sales figures. Analysts may be told privately, but it isn't told to the public (closest we get are PR releases with total figures. Apple doesn't even separate iPad/iPad Mini sales numbers)

Dude, Apple released their numbers during their quarterly conference call. They sold 47.8 million iphones in the quarter. Take these numbers 47.8 - (27.4+17.4) = 3 million. Sounds very fishy

vcfan said,

Dude, Apple released their numbers during their quarterly conference call. They sold 47.8 million iphones in the quarter. Take these numbers 47.8 - (27.4+17.4) = 3 million. Sounds very fishy

iPhone 4 Sales?

Funny how they show just Galaxy SIII and both iphone 4s and iphone 5, whereas SGSII is also still on sale. Add that and combined Galaxy family still outsells apple.

Unlikely as this is Q4 2012 sales. Why buy a SII when you can buy an SIII? We may see something else if we looked at all time sales, but this is just Q4. The iPhone 4S is the "baby" iPhone, whereas the Ace is the "baby" Galaxy, not the SII.

maxslaterrobins said,
Unlikely as this is Q4 2012 sales. Why buy a SII when you can buy an SIII? We may see something else if we looked at all time sales, but this is just Q4. The iPhone 4S is the "baby" iPhone, whereas the Ace is the "baby" Galaxy, not the SII.

Why buy an iPhone 4S when you can buy an iPhone 5?
Because the old one is cheaper.

The 4S is the old iPhone, not the "baby" iPhone. The SII is the old Galaxy S, not the "baby" Galaxy S.

The SII is better than the Ace. MUCH better than the Ace. And are you sure it's the Ace you want to compare to? It looks like it came out January 2011, same time as the SII.

maxslaterrobins said,
Unlikely as this is Q4 2012 sales. Why buy a SII when you can buy an SIII? We may see something else if we looked at all time sales, but this is just Q4. The iPhone 4S is the "baby" iPhone, whereas the Ace is the "baby" Galaxy, not the SII.

Because it was given away for free with a new contract.

The Ace is considered the baby of the Galaxy family because it is the cheapest, like the iPhone 4 to the iPhone family. The 4S sells well because it runs iOS 6 (with Siri, etc.) on a cheaper handset than the iPhone 5; it is the baby iPhone.

This is good news. People are restoring their faith back into Apple. Glad to see everyone is upgrading to any smart phone..

ir0nw0lf said,
Someone forgot to give their stock [price] the memo...

Funny. But yea, stock prices still at 450 for Apple. once that starts going back up where it was (in the 700s) then that will be proof faith in the company is coming back.

techbeck said,
Funny. But yea, stock prices still at 450 for Apple. once that starts going back up where it was (in the 700s) then that will be proof faith in the company is coming back.

*IF* the stock goes back up... stock is a vote of faith. Goes up when people believe... down when they don't.

What has Apple done recently? Within the last year? Variations on the iPod. Highly successful variations, but variations none the less. Variations that make less profit per unit... .. .

With a lack of real innovation, apps like Maps, a shrinking margin and stories about how foxconn is slowing down production... I wouldn't hedge my bets on Apple's stock going up any time soon.

If you are combining iPhone numbers, do combine the numbers of entire Galaxy line (Ace, S, Y, Duo etc. etc). I am sure those numbers are massive.

Figures aren't combined.
iPhone 5: 27.4 million sold
iPhone 4S: 17.4 million sold
Galaxy SIII: 15.4 million sold

The iPhone outsold the SIII fair and square.

Exynos said,
And if we combine Samsung Galaxy S II and Galaxy S III, then how much will that be?

Obviously still less than iPhone 5 + iPhone 4S in Q4 2012.

maxslaterrobins said,
Figures aren't combined.
iPhone 5: 27.4 million sold
iPhone 4S: 17.4 million sold
Galaxy SIII: 15.4 million sold

The iPhone outsold the SIII fair and square.


I was referring to the last paragraph in the article that starts with..

"When combined, the iPhone 5 and 4S account for one in five handsets sold worldwide"

Couldn't find figures for the SII/SIII combined. If the iPhone numbers are right, however, then 1 in 5 of all phones sold is an iPhone; pretty incredible.

From the extracts I think the info is a little unclear.

For instance, 1 in 5 of all phones is 20% but quoting "Apple's iPhone captured a 15 percent global handset market share". Now that obviously doesn't tally unless it means the current global market share of all devices [u]to date[/u] is 15% (rather than 15% of [u]current[/u] sales). But the text doesn't read like that.

(too lazy to check the source link)

adam.mt said,

1 in 5 of all phones is 20% but quoting "Apple's iPhone captured a 15 percent global handset market share".

Yeh you're right, it should be ~20%. (It's not a mistake that they've made in the source; it's only in this Neowin article.)

Samsung will lose more market share if they stick to sh*tty design. Consumers begin to hate Samsung. HTC and Nokia can strike back.

Depends if HTC is too far gone (losing money hand over fist). Nokia have returned to profitability, which is good. I should imagine things will stay as they are (Apple and Samsung taking all the $$$) for at least a couple of years. If HTC and Nokia tap into the next craze (wearable computing), they're set.

****ty design? The Note 2 is the best phone I've ever had - I think it's a much better phone than my old 3GS, which was the best phone available when I got it. It's also much better than the Atrix I had.

Hate Samsung? Why? Samsung is making solid devices, across a wide spectrum of specs... What "****ty" designs are you talking about?

I'm just waiting for Apple to start losing steam because of their stale design. How much more copying can THEY do? How many variations of the iPod can they do? 7inch tablet, bigger phone screens, smaller tablet screens, etc... ooo they are making a watch. La'de'freakin'da (Same can be said for a Samsung watch *Shrug*).... They are making a killer... but how long can their one trick pony last?

I almost got the Nokia phone, but I steer clear of SP0 MS products. Wait until they get a revision or two. XP SP2+. Second wave of XBoxes (Hello RROD). Etc... HTC? What have they done that's even remotely interesting?

cyborgs said,
Samsung will lose more market share if they stick to sh*tty design. Consumers begin to hate Samsung. HTC and Nokia can strike back.

One of the major reasons Samsung has been so successful is how their phones look. The issue most have design wise, software design, is the Touchwiz interface...which is junk IMO.

And not sure how, IF, Samsung would fail that would help Nokia at all. Nokia just makes Windows devices...we are talking Android here. I am looking forward to HTCs new devices that were announced tho. Those look solid.

People put to much stock in how things look than how they perform. I put functionality and performance over hardware design any day of the week.

I have an iphone 5 but I think the gal 3 is not a bad design. It looks really good. The best that Samsung has made yet. it is not a failure, it sold millions. Now the I5 is taking back its crown.