Overtakes Nokia after shifting 93 million handsets in the first three months of 2012.
Samsung has overtaken Nokia to become the biggest mobile phone manufacturer in the world, according to market research consultants Strategy Analytics.
The South Korean electronics company shifted 93.5 million handsets in the first three months of the year, meaning a record 25% of all phones sold over the period were made by Samsung.
Alex Spektor, associate director at Strategy Analytics, described Samsung as the “star performer” over the quarter, and pointed out that “five years after it captured the number two spot from Motorola, Samsung has finally become the world’s largest handset vendor in volume terms".
Nokia, based in Finland, has held the number one spot since 1998, but saw the number of phones it sold between January and March this year fall 24% to 82.7 million, compared with the same period last year.
The company saw its sales “squeezed at both ends,” according to Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics.
Sales of its entry-level feature phones slowed in emerging markets, while sales of its new Lumia smartphone range, powered by Windows Phone, did not make up for the decline in sales of phones using its old Symbian operating system.
Apple is the world’s third-largest mobile manufacturer, shifting over 35 million iPhones between January and March thanks to the recent launch of the iPhone 4S in China and sales of the device remaining strong in the US and Japan.
However, the rumoured launch of the Samsung Galaxy S III in May is expected to slow Apple’s sales over the next quarter if it is well received.