Apple Surpassed Samsung as Global Smartphone Market Leader

"Even though we have seen new full-screen displays, advanced biometrics, and improved artificial intelligence, the new and higher price points could be outweighing the benefits of having the latest and greatest device in hand."

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Apple iPhone 8 3D Illustration with Apple Inc logo
Apple iPhone 8 3D Illustration with Apple Inc logo (Photo Credit: www.shutterstock.com)

Apple experienced a slight downturn from the previous holiday quarter as iPhone volumes reached 77.3 million units, a year-over-year decline of 1.3%.

However, IT research firm IDC says volumes were still enough to push Apple past Samsung and back into first place in the smartphone market, largely because of iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

Apple continues to prove that having numerous models at various price points bodes well for bringing smartphone owners to iOS.

Although demand for the new higher priced iPhone X may not have been as strong as many expected, the overall iPhone lineup appealed to a wider range of consumers in both emerging and developed markets, the research firm said.

Apple finished second for the full year in 2017 shipping 215.8 million units, up 0.2% from the 215.4 million units shipped in 2016.

Samsung remained the overall leader in the worldwide smartphone market for 2017 despite losing out to Apple in the fourth quarter.

Samsung Galaxy S8 (Photo Credit: Samsung)
Samsung Galaxy S8 (Photo Credit: Samsung)

IDC said the Korean giant shipped 74.1 million units in 4Q17, down 4.4% compared to the 77.5 million units from last year.

Samsung finished the year with 317.3 million shipments, up 1.9% from the 311.4 million shipments in 2016.

According to the IDC, despite the failure of the Note 7 combined with the endless collective pressure from Chinese players along with Apple, Samsung has managed to remain on top through thick and thin. The pending arrival of their next flagship, the Galaxy S9, may represent the brand’s best chance of winning over both new and current customers in 2018.

Huawei continues to hold the number three position despite intensified competition from growing Chinese players such as OPPO and Vivo.

IDC said Huawei shipped 41.0 million units, down 9.7% from the 45.4 million shipped in the fourth quarter of 2016. The 2017 results look much better for the Chinese giant as the Honor brand helped pushed sales both inside and outside of China.

Huawei shipped 153.1 million units, up 9.9% from the 139.3 million unit shipped in 2016. The Mate series and Honor sub-brand continued to drive crucial volume in numerous markets, while the Y series thrived at the low-end.

Huawei Honor Smartphone
Huawei Honor Smartphone

Recent aspirations for breaking into the U.S. market are on hold as both AT&T and Verizon recently cut ties to bring Huawei flagships to the U.S. Entering the U.S. through an official carrier remains critical for Huawei if it wishes to eventually dethrone market leaders Apple and Samsung.

“The latest flock of posh flagships may have had consumers hitting the pause button in the holiday quarter,” said Anthony Scarsella, research manager, Mobile Phones at IDC.

“With ultra-high-end flagships all the rage in 2017, many of these new bezel-less wonders proved to be more of a luxury than a necessity among upgraders. Even though we have seen new full-screen displays, advanced biometrics, and improved artificial intelligence, the new and higher price points could be outweighing the benefits of having the latest and greatest device in hand.”

 

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