Apple Took Top Spot in U.S. Mobile Phone Market Share in Q4 (but Samsung Ruled 2012)

If focusing on the U.S. market, then Apple was the top mobile vendor in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data released by Strategy Analytics. Mobile phone shipments as a whole grew 4 percent last year to reach 52 million units (again, just focusing on the U.S.), and in Q4, Apple snagged just over a third of the market with a 34 percent share, slipping ahead of Samsung in the process.

Apple's record market share grab came from shipping an estimated 17.7 million mobile phones during the quarter, up from 12.8 million units shipped and a 25 percent share in the same quarter one year prior.

"Apple has become the number one mobile phone vendor by volume in the United States for the first time ever," Strategy Analystics said. "Apple’s success has been driven by its popular ecosystem of iPhones and App Store, generous carrier subsidies, and extensive marketing around the new iPhone 5 model."

Even though Apple outpaced Samsung in the fourth quarter, Samsung led the charge in all of 2012, ending the year with a 31.8 percent share of the market for all four quarters, compared to Apple at 26.2 percent. Samsung also sold more mobile phones for the entire year at 53 million units (16.8 million in Q4) versus Apple at 43.7 million units (17.7 million in Q4).