Nokia dethroned as Samsung takes top spot for 2012 worldwide cellphone shipments

Step down, Nokia. There’s a new king of the cellphone world.

For the first time in 14 years, Nokia did not finish first in worldwide cellphone shipments. According to analytics provider IHS, Samsung is expected to finish at the top for the first time ever, accounting for 29 percent of phone shipments this year, up from 24 percent last year. Nokia, meanwhile, fell from 30 percent last year to 24 percent in 2012.

Apple saw a 3 percent increase from last year and finished with 10 percent of total shipments.

“The competitive reality of the cellphone market in 2012 was ‘live by the smartphone; die by the smartphone,’” Wayne Lam, IHS senior analyst for wireless communications, said in a press release. “Smartphones represent the fastest-growing segment of the cellphone market—and will account for nearly half of all wireless handset shipments for all of 2012. Samsung’s successes and Nokia’s struggles in the cellphone market this year were determined entirely by the two companies’ divergent fortunes in the smartphone sector.”

Will Nokia’s Lumia line help boost sales?

The report credits Samsung’s success to its ability to sell both high and low-end products, while Nokia’s transition to the Windows OS is causing declining sales numbers.

Looking at smartphones only, Samsung beat out Apple for a second consecutive year. The South Korean company is expected to have 28 percent share of global smartphone shipments in 2012, up from 20 percent last year.

Apple had a 20 percent smartphone share in 2012, slightly up from 19 percent in 2011. Nokia remained in third place, but went from 16 percent in 2011 to just 5 percent of global smartphone shipments in 2012.

Nokia better hope for some success stories with the its new line of Lumia products running Windows 8. During 3Q of 2012, Nokia mobile phone sales declined 21.9 percent and tumbled to No. 7 worldwide from No. 3 with 7.2 million smartphones sold in the third quarter.

CNET has an interesting Q&A out today with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. Also in related news, Samsung dropped its inunction requests against Apple today for standards-essential patent infringement in Germany, the UK, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

Previously on GeekWire: Microsoft teaming with China Unicom to boost Windows Phone sales