Because of the Galaxy's large touchscreen, extensive distribution and generous operator subsidies, Strategy Analytics said the phone was able to outsell the iPhone for the first time in Q3 2012.
Neil Shah, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said the Galaxy S3 shipped 18 million units worldwide during last quarter, capturing an 11 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally. Apple shipped about 16.2 million iPhone 4 units, putting it in second place as consumers held off purchases for the iPhone 5 upgrade.
"Samsung's Galaxy S3 has proven wildly popular with consumers and operators across North America, Europe and Asia, added executive director Neil Mawston. "However, the Galaxy S3's position as the world’s best-selling smartphone model is likely to be short-lived."
Mawston said that the iPhone 5 already has a good start with an estimated 6 million units shipped globally during Q3 2012.
"We expect the new iPhone 5 to out-ship Samsung’s Galaxy S3 in the coming fourth quarter of 2012 and Apple should soon reclaim the title of the world’s most popular smartphone model," he added.