In a recent Reuters poll of analysts, on average they agree that Samsung has sold 88 million cellphones between January and March, besting Nokia’s 83 million during the same period. Globally, Nokia has held the #1 cellphone seller spot for 14 years, so this news is devastating to Nokia. “After 14 years as the largest global mobile phone maker, getting knocked off the top spot will come as a bitter blow to Nokia,” said Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight.
On Wednesday, Nokia announced their sales numbers and warned of losses in the first and second quarters. Samsung will release their sales numbers on April 27th, proving one way or the other if the analysts are correct with their predictions, though with Nokia’s struggles in the smartphone market and Samsung’s successes, it seems pretty likely they are on target.
Nokia has only been able to hang on to the top spot due to their dominance in the lower end feature phone market, but once the smartphone market took off, they have been playing catch-up. The rapid decline of Nokia is seen by the fact that a similar poll in January showed it was still far ahead of Samsung.
“I think it will hurt them from a PR perspective,” Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said, “but in reality it does not change anything: at the end of the day the problems are the same if they remain the No 1 or become the No 2.”
I wonder if Nokia is regretting their decision to shun Android and partner with Microsoft.