In Q3, Samsung Galaxy S3 best-selling smartphone in the world


Samsung was able to take advantage of the release of a new iPhone in order to take the title of world’s best-selling smartphone for Q3 of 2012. The Samsung Galaxy S3 sold 18 million units for the quarter in comparison to the iPhone 4S, which moved 16.2 million. This equates to a 10.7 percent share of the global smartphone market for the GS3 compared to the 9.7 percent of the iPhone 4S. While I hate to burst the bubble of fellow Android enthusiasts, however, it’s worth diving deeper into the statistics.

Taking into account the 6 million iPhone 5 handsets sold in Q3 (the phone was only available for a few weeks during that time period), Apple’s two latest iPhone models account for over 22 million units sold. Customers waiting for the new iPhone held off on buying the model preceding it, which led to lower figures for each individual model.

Had no new iPhone been released, it is hard to say how the figures would have compared with the Galaxy S3. We might just have to wait for the Q4 results to get a better idea of the GS3’s long-term success (and Strategy Analysts, the source of the data, anticipates Apple will reclaim the lead). But as it stands, there is nothing wrong if Samsung should choose to gloat about their flagship phone’s success. On paper, at least, it is the best-selling smartphone in the world.

Kevin Krause
Pretty soon you'll know a lot about Kevin because his biography will actually be filled in!

Jelly Bean arrives for Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Previous article

Samsung Galaxy Express comes to AT&T November 16th

Next article

You may also like


  1. Wah, my sale didn’t get to help here. :-) I pre-ordered and picked up my S3 at the tail end of Q2 (June)

  2. Across the land, Apple fans post sad pics of themselves on Instagram, weeping and drinking their Starbucks latte

  3. I don’t believe those numbers, iPhone sold 5 milion times on release, and in the six weeks after that 1 milion to get to 6 milion total. Just can’t be correct!

    And the S3 outsold the iPhone 5? Nah wish it was true but just don’t believe it!
    iPhone 5 sold for ~50% of total quarter, so take 50% of S3 sales witch is 9 milion vs 6 milion iphone 5’s in the same period…

    1. to be fair, sept 21 is gave it more than half the quarter (92 days in the quarter, 42 days with no iphone 5, 50 days with).

      I too have a hard time believing Apple only managed to sell 1 million iphone 5 models in just over 45 days. I think though that of new smartphone purchases, the iphone 4s probably cannibalized a lot of their potential iphone 5 market.

    2. You don’t quite understand. This is for the quarter ending September 30th. The iPhone 5 was only on sale from September 21-30 while the Galaxy S III was on sale from July 1 – September 30.

      GS3: 18 million from July 1 – Sept 30
      iPhone 4S: 16.2 million from July 1 – Sept 30
      iPhone 5: 6 million from Sept 21 – Sept 30

      1. And considering that the iPhone 5 sold 6 million that short period, I just don’t see the GS3 holding the title through Q4…

        1. Doesn’t matter. The important thing is that the iPhone’s reign at #1 has been broken. An Android phone outselling an iPhone would have been hard to imagine in 2010. Now we can reasonably expect that it will happen again, and probably in Q1 or Q2 next year, a Samsung phone will be at #1 again, or maybe even the Nexus 4.

    3. I believe it, in my work place alone I’ve seen people drop their iphones and get the S3 after the disappointment that is the iphone 5. I think I can count on both hands how many people picked up the iphone 5. That’s out of over 300 employees.

  4. I think the point here has less to do with who sold how many in a specific quarter than it does with the overall market share trend/chart over the past year or two.

  5. the article isnt saying the i5 has sold 6 million total. its saying it sold 6 million in Q3(july, august, september). its probably sold way more total so far.

  6. Apple : Whose your daddy ? ;)

  7. if Samsung outsells them again in 4th quarter, then Samsung is the leader,
    fyi Foxconn just announced can’t keep up with demand of the I phone 5.
    means its selling like wow, also can potentially sell more if the demand is met.

    1. If the SGS3 gets the #1 slot in the next quarter, then Apple is in serious trouble. By that time, the SGS3 will be more than 6 months old, whereas the iPhone 5 will still be quite new. Plus, the Galaxy Note II will be cannibalizing some of the SGS3’s potential sales, so if the SGS3 outsells the iPhone 5 in that situation, it means the iPhone 5 is a major flop.

      1. its seems the galaxy note 2 is steeling both gs3 and iphone 5 buyers

        1. Good point.

      2. I sold my gs3 for note 2

  8. I just purchased a Note 2 earlier this week so I don’t think I count, but hey, it’s still a Galaxy instead of a crabapple!

  9. They didn’t say that it was the best selling Android phone of Q3 in the world! The innovationPhone is still the best selling iOS phone in the world

    1. They said it’s the best selling PHONE, period. the innovativelessPhone is still behind. Apple needs to quit patent trolling and start innovating again. They lost their way 3 years ago and are just coasting on fumes of dollars they have in the vault from their customers. They’ll bleed that dry.

      1. Haha, Jesus fu©k! Maybe I should start telling people when I’m being sarcastic

        1. could have been better ;)

  10. Whether it was the first or tenth best-selling phone, they sold 18 million of ’em!!!

  11. Gee….if we only knew how many of those sales were to actual END USERS and not telcos, retailers and other distribution channels: http://sammyhub.com/2012/11/03/samsung-galaxy-s-iii-sales-reach-30-million-units/
    Hey Sammy, since you copy everything else Apple does, why not copy Apple and release the actual number of end users who bought the GS3, apart from the channel stuffing??? Besides, we all know how you like to play with numbers: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-news/samsung-comes-clean-galaxy-tab-numbers-not-consumer-sales/775

    1. Romney lost so now your back to hating on Android? Funny how you don’t post until your precious company looks even slightly bad.

      1. Funny how you completely sidestepped the point of my post

        1. Your so-called “point” is a non-point. There are not millions of Samsung Galaxy S IIIs sitting in warehouses unbought.

          1. Then just release the numbers….it’s really quite simple

          2. Ok, if we can agree that not all the Galaxy phones shipped are sitting on shelves at retailers, just what percentage of shipped do you think are on the shelves and you can try explaining why an increasing number are shipped each month. I can’t imagine retailers continuing to order more product if it doesn’t really sell. Also I would think the iPhone has somewhat of a variance for phones sold at online retailers/brick stores not directly in their control (e.g. any retailer other than apple.com, Apple Store). This is true more so now than ever with iPhones being sold at Best Buy, Walmart, etc.

          3. If they want to silence the doubters, THEN JUST RELEASE THE ACTUAL END USER NUMBERS…..they got caught playing this game once before: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-news/samsung-comes-clean-galaxy-tab-numbers-not-consumer-sales/775

            You would think that in the interest of full disclosure they would release the actual numbers. But instead they hide behind the “shipped” numbers. They want fandroids like you to believe that 30 millions end users are out there with GS3’s…..they’re not

          4. Pray tell, how do you expect them to release sold numbers if they don’t sell directly to users? Unlike Apple which can possibly use activation and direct sales to arrive at their number, Samsung does not have control over activations and as far as I know do not sell directly to users. Do you actually expect them to call up all the stores selling their products on a frequent basis to ask them how many of what units were sold? If you have an idea of how Samsung could arrive at ‘sold to end user’ numbers perhaps you can enlighten them so the next numbers they release are to your liking. All the industry can really do is make the assumption that Apple is telling the truth and that other companies are doing the same with shipped numbers and understanding that shipments after the first month most likely represent good sales since smart retailers will not buy any more of anything they haven’t run low or sold out on.

            When Analysts compare numbers they use shipped numbers for Apple also since the numbers sold into retail (outside of the company owned Apple stores ) is almost impossible to reliably track. Here’s an excerpt from one such article:[Samsung, which reported record third-quarter earnings on Friday, does not outline its smartphone shipment figures. However, IDC released a report showing that Samsung shipped 56.3 million smartphones during the quarter. Apple, meanwhile, said it sold 26.9 million iPhones during its fiscal fourth quarter, which coincided with the calendar third quarter. An IDC rep says both Apple and Samsung’s figures are comparable. “Since the sales figures of both Apple and Samsung represent ‘sales in’ to the channel as opposed to ‘sales out’ meaning sales to consumers or enterprises we presented them as such in our release as it fits with our methodology,” the rep says.] (http://mashable.com/2012/10/26/samsung-shipped-twice-as-many-smartphones-as-apple-last-quarter/)

          5. Uh, you don’t think that Samsung (or any other OEM) has a list of every distributor that they ship their product to at their disposal??? It would be very easy to get the end user sales from them and compare those to the numbers shipped. That is essentially what Apple does when the report their quarterly sales figures, which is why we’ve never had to rely upon analysts guesstimations of how many iPhones were sold; we get the numbers from Apple itself. Also, let me correct you: Samsung DOES sell directly to users via their website and those Apple-knockoff Samsung Stores: http://m.ign.com/articles/2012/08/25/check-out-samsungs-apple-store-clone

            You’re just making excuses for a company that wants people to believe that their products are a lot more popular with the general public than they actually are….

          6. Why are you asking distributors? They are ‘middlemen’ that distribute to retail outlets where the actual ‘sale’ of the device occurs. Or are you saying you want each distributor (there may be multiple levels) to also ask each of their ‘clients’ for a count, aggregate that and then tell Samsung? If you understand how supply logistics work it really is not as easy as you seem to make it out to be. I doubt even Apple has that much control over distributors. They’re probably busy enough moving product from the manufacturer, dividing it up as shipments to smaller distributors or actual stores, and actually moving it there to ask for counts from each destination. They’re probably more concerned with product actually arriving or returns due to damage, etc. As for selling directly to users via their website and store, thank you for your correction. However if you think about it the resulting ‘sales’ from Samsung’s direct/brick stores is probably MUCH smaller than Apple.com/Apple Stores simply due to the number of their respective such outlets. Do you really think that’s a realistic ‘count’? All I’m saying is that due to the nature of how product distribution works it is near impossible to get accurate ‘sales’ figures if you don’t control the entire supply chain. Since Apple, at least initially, controlled the majority of their sales chain to a relatively smaller number of end points their sales number was at the start relatively close to shipped. Now however, as explained here and in earlier posts, that is not true of ANY phone manufacturer. Thus the best we can do is perhaps ‘handicap’ the numbers by say using Apple’s numbers with a grain of salt and Samsung’s numbers adjusted by about one shipment cycle’s worth to get a fairly accurate picture. The reason for this adjustment is as I mentioned before, no retailer will buy more product if the previous ‘batch’ did not sell. If you still believe Apple’s count is that accurate what is your reasoning when you take into account how the distribution channel works as outlined above?

    2. Your posting links to an article that is 2 YEARS OLD ?

      SAD & DELUDED appleite !!!

      1. Apparently you’re not smart enough to see the connection….BOTH links that I posted demonstrate that when Sammy posts sales figures for their iClone products, they don’t differentiate between how many of those sales were to END USERS and how many were simply shipped to retailers, carriers and other distributors. This is about the only thing that they DON’T copy from Apple, who when they post their sales numbers they only include sales to end users…do yourself a favor; get a clue

  12. If we do this comparaison 16.2+6Million iphones (4s and 5), we could still add to the SIII the SII which at least in Europe is still being sold…

  13. I see the most random people with the Galaxy S3. It’s as abundant as an iPhone. I didn’t see this with the Galaxy S2. Interesting.

    1. More advertising, more brand identity (carriers not changing the design or name), and it’s on all carriers now (Verizon never really had a Galaxy S2, and many of the smaller carriers got them much later than they got the S3). Those 3 factors will do it.

    2. My friend, a long-term Apple fan, just bought a Galaxy S3. If it wasn’t for the popularity of the GS3, he would have an iPhone 5 right now. Now he realizes what he’s been missing out on.

  14. Go South Korea!

    1. they want to be international now, so , Go international Samsung!

  15. 1st, I HATE APPLE
    2nd, The only good thing about this is that 18 mill SGS3 were sold and while that is PHENOMENAL apple sold 16 mill of a device that was no more than 4 weeks away from being ‘the last big ithing’ and that shows that there’s a long way to go yet before they fall from grace.

    The isheep who cannot get the latest and greatest of their beloved apple for whatever reason are still so brainwashed that they will buy the old device and still THINK that they have the ‘next best thing’ – you have to hand it to them [apple] they have targeted a very vulnerable section of society who lack in self confidence and esteem so much that they think that this phone will give them what they lack naturally.

    I just love winding them up [and I admit that it gives me a buzz also] FOOLS !

    1. the fact that the iphone 4s is still selling like that is pretty frikin staggering. gotta give apple props for being able to penetrate the gullible consumer base.

      1. I have a feeling the ones purchasing the 4/4S at this point are those that have earlier models, looking for a good deal and are reluctant on changing their OS which would lead to losing their investment in peripherals & Apps more than really considering which phone is better, spec-wise or other.. I wouldn’t call them gullible but rather reluctant to switch right now..

  16. Finally, the king has risen.

  17. I waited for the release of the iphone5 to decide which phone was better, at the time i was using an iphone4. Well once the iphone5 was released i was SOOOO disappointed in the phone and the Galaxy S3 offered me so many things the iphone5 could not..the screen size was the big factor for me….now i want the GNote 2 for xmas!!!!!

  18. Renee Witchie over at IMore seen this write up and he has putting up articles every day now trying to convince all the I-Sheep that the SGS3 hasn’t sold more. He is loosing many hours of sleep over your article which is the truth. If you throw in the Note 2 and the SGS2, damn that would really spin his head.

    1. Better yet, Count ALL Galaxy (S-series, Note, etc.) phones vs. all iPhones and track the two over the next few months.

  19. Samsung has really stepped up their game and made some killer products, they are the leading competition for apple, now lets add motorola, htc, dell, sony, lg…ect. Android is making a killing.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Handsets