Apple overtakes Samsung as the top global smartphone vendor

Apple shipped 78.3 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of the year, moving it ahead of Samsung (by about 800,000 more smartphone units) to recapture the top global position among smartphone manufacturers, reports Strategy Analytics. The research group says Apple has 18% of the worldwide market.

Smartphone shipments grew an improved 9% annually from 403.0 million units in quarter four (Q4) 2015 to 438.7 million in Q4 2016. This quarter was the smartphone industry’s fastest growth rate for over a year. Smartphone growth is recovering slightly due to stronger demand in major developing markets like China and Africa, according to Strategy Analytics. Global smartphone shipments grew 3% annually from 1.44 billion in full-year 2015 to a record 1.49 billion in 2016.

“Apple shipped 78.3 million smartphones worldwide and captured 18 percent marketshare in Q4 2016, rising a steady 5%t annually from 74.8 million units in Q4 2015,” says Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics. “This was the iPhone’s best performance for over a year, as Apple capitalized on Samsung’s recent missteps. Samsung shipped 77.5 million smartphones worldwide in Q4 2016, dipping 5% annually from 81.3 million units in Q4 2015. Samsung lost momentum in the quarter as a result of its Note 7 battery fiasco.”

Samsung captured 18 percent share for the quarter and 21 percent share for the full year, its lowest level since 2011. However, on an annualized basis, Samsung maintained first position with 309 million units shipped worldwide in 2016.