A report from Russian wireless carrier MTS on Monday reveals that Apple's share of the country's emerging smartphone market revenue slipped during the first quarter of 2012 while Android handset maker Samsung doubled its presence mostly at the expense of former leader Nokia.
Samsung flooded Russia's smartphone market with a bevy of models in quarter one and managed to take a 32.3 percent share of the country's 26.8 billion Rubles, or about $812 million, in overall smartphone revenue, according to MTS estimates (via BGR). The nearly one-third share in sales is more than double the 14.8 percent the South Korean company managed only a year ago.
While Samsung posted huge gains year-over-year, Apple saw a slight dip in profit share from 15.6 percent to 14.9 percent but margins were high as the iPhone accounted for only 5.4 percent of units sold for the three months ending in March. The Cupertino, Calif. company finished the quarter as Russia's number three profit leader behind Nokia as the Finnish handset maker suffered a huge loss and dropped from a market-leading 47.5 percent to 27 percent.
Adoption of feature-rich handset sales in Russia almost doubled from the first quarter of 2011 and the number of users now stands at more than five times that of 2010. At the end of March there were over 2.5 million smartphone users compared to 1.49 million in 2011 and only 582,000 in 2010.
In 2011, Nokia handsets accounted for over half of all smartphone sales in the region and stood at a commanding 58.7 percent of all units sold followed by Samsung's 16.2 percent and HTC's 6.6 percent. The Lumia maker's lead disappeared, however, as the company only managed to take 34..5 percent of all unit sales while Samsung boosted its 2011 share of 16.2 percent to 35.7 percent in 2012. Apple, HTC and Sony Ericsson all posted moderate sales increases.
Interestingly, the distribution of smartphone operating systems within the MTS network over the first quarter had the defunct Symbian platform in the lead with 37.8 percent while Android and Bada followed with 35.1 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively. Windows Phone came in fourth with 8.2 percent and Apple's iOS trailed the pack at 7.3 percent.
Besides the legacy iPhone 3GS Apple has yet to truly enter the low-end handset market and the company's share of emerging markets like Russia is slowly dwindling as competitors offer more appealing options at inexpensive price points.