Samsung is now the wrold's #1 handset vendor

A report by research firm Strategy Analytics shows that Samsung has surpassed Nokia to become the largest handset vendor in the world in terms of volume. In a quarter that saw a small three percent rise in mobile phone sales, Samsung captured 25 percent of the market. In the meantime, the struggling Finnish manufacturer Nokia's shipments decreased by 24 percent due to declining sales in emerging markets. Despite strong sales of their Lumia line of Windows Phone handsets, Nokia recorded a substantial Q1 loss of 3%, prompting Moody's to cut their debt rating to the lowest possible investment level.

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, said, "Nokia's global handset shipments declined a huge 24 percent annually to 82.7 million units in Q1 2012. Volumes were squeezed at both ends, as low-end feature phone shipments in emerging markets stalled and high-end Microsoft Lumia smartphones were unable to offset the rapid decline of Nokia's legacy Symbian business. Nokia was the world's largest handset vendor between 1998 and 2011, for 14 years, before finally yielding top position to rival Samsung this quarter."

Fueled by strong sales in the United States and Japan, Apple nearly doubled its worldwide shipments from 18.6 million to 35.1 million. They are expected to grow even more in the second quarter, though the launch of Samsung's new flagship Galaxy S3 will likely slow Apple down a bit. Though things are currently rough for Nokia in the grand scheme, the Lumia 900 is selling like hotcakes.   With recent rumors of Verizon finally embracing Windows Phone, could we see a quick turnaround for the one-time king of the handset heap?

Global Q1 handset shipments

Source: Strategy Analytics; Via: MarketWatch