Samsung widens its sales lead over Apple

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Samsung and Apple are the leading contenders in the smartphone market, but Reuters released a poll of 41 financial analysts who estimate that Samsung, fueled by the demand for the Samsung Galaxy S3, is increasing its lead over Apple for smartphone sales in the second quarter of fiscal year 2012.

According to Reuters, the demand for smartphones by Samsung and Apple has been “neck-and-neck” for several quarters, but the gap widened beginning in May 2012 with the release of the Galaxy S3. From April 1 to June 30, the analysts estimate that Samsung had sold over 50 million smartphones, overshadowing Apple’s projected sales of 30.5 million smartphones.

Apple’s projected sales are higher than what was estimated by Piper Jaffray’s senior research analyst, Gene Munster, who bets that Apple has sold between 28 and 29 million iPhones and both figures are ahead of Wall Street’s forecast, which pegs iPhone sales at 25 to 27 million units.

Much of Samsung’s performance has been credited to its marketing push, but more significantly, its diversified portfolio of smartphone offerings and proceeding generations of these phones.

“Samsung is expected to be the smartphone hero in the second quarter,” said IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo. “We are also expecting to see the biggest smartphone volumes ever shipped from one single vendor in one quarter, driven by strong demand of the Galaxy portfolio, particularly the Galaxy S2 and S3.”

Apple’s performance for its smartphone, on the other hand, is entirely reliant on the company releasing a new generation of the iPhone. What can also be factored into Apple’s current performance in comparison with Samsung are those consumers who are simply abstaining from purchasing the iPhone 4 and 4s, knowing that Apple will soon be retailing a new generation of the iPhone.

Samsung currently claims the throne for the most smartphone sales, but Apple may reclaim that title whether the iPhone 5 debuts sometime this summer or toward the end of the year. For Apple, iPhone sales are particularly crucial as the phone accounts for over half of Apple’s second quarter revenue. In the past, Apple has consistently surpassed analyst’s expectations.

Samsung and Apple will announce their official second quarter earnings on July 27 and July 24 respectively.