Close to 1.5 billion smartphones were sold globally in 2016. Let that sink in for a second!
Of these, Samsung accounted for just over 300 million units, Apple some 210 million units, and Huawei came in third spot with 132 million smartphones sold in 2016, according to a Gartner report. Also Android occupies close to 82% smartphone marketshare, the rest is made up of iPhones — Windows, Blackberry and Other OSes in total make up only 0.4% share!
Close Fight Between Samsung and Apple
While Samsung won the overall numbers race, actually in the last three months of 2016, Apple narrowly edged out the South Korean consumer electronics giant by selling more iPhones in comparison to Samsung phones. Apple played second fiddle to Samsung for two long years before finally coming on top as the #1 global smartphone vendor, but the difference wasn’t much — only 256,000 units.
“The last time Apple was in the leading position was in the fourth quarter of 2014, when its sales were driven by its first ever large-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus,” said Mr. Anshul Gupta, Research Director at Gartner. “This time it achieved it thanks to strong sales of its flagship phones — the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus; it also benefited from the weakened demand for Samsung’s smartphones in mature markets such as North America and Western Europe, and in some mature markets in Asia such as Australia and South Korea.”
”This is the second consecutive quarter in which Samsung has delivered falling quarterly smartphone sales,” continued Mr Gupta. “Samsung’s smartphone sales declined 8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 and its share dropped by 2.9 percentage points year on year.”
No prizes for guessing why Samsung fared so poorly — hint hint, the Galaxy Note 7 explosions and recall and shutdown. The withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 left a gap in its large-screen phone range, according to Gartner. Also the report about Apple reducing iPhone production by 10% because of sluggish sales seems to have little or not impact on its sales figures.
Samsung and Apple also faced growing competition in the mid-tier and entry-level smartphone segments from Huawei, Oppo, BBK and Gionee, which all grew their sales each quarter. Top Chinese brands such as Oppo, BBK, Huawei, ZTE, and Xiaomi are aggressively expanding into markets outside China, where they will continue to disrupt the top smartphone players in 2017.