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Samsung loses top spot to Apple in Q4 smartphone sales

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A 5 per cent drop on-year and its lowest quarterly sales figure in six years

Seoul (Korea), February 2, 2017: Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics lost the top spot to Apple in smartphone sales in the fourth quarter on 2016 for the first time in five years, according to US research firm Strategy Analytics.

SA’s latest report showed that Samsung grabbed a 17.7 per cent market share in the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter. It sold 77.5 million smartphones, a 5 per cent drop on-year and its lowest quarterly sales figure in six years.

Samsung’s archrival Apple captured 17.8 per cent market share during the same period, selling a record-breaking 78.3 million units, a 5 per cent rise on-year.

“This was the iPhone’s best performance for over a year, as Apple capitalised on Samsung’s recent missteps. Samsung lost momentum in the quarter as a result of its Note 7 battery fiasco,” Neil Mawston, Strategy Analytics’ executive director explained in the report.

“Samsung will be banking on the rumored Galaxy S8 model in a few weeks’ time to reignite growth and return to the top spot in quarterly smartphone shipments,” he added.

On an annualised basis, Samsung still maintained the top position with 394 million unit sales, beating Apple’s 215 million units. It was due to Samsung’s flagship smartphones Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, which filled the gap left by the Note 7. Their combined sales stood at a record-breaking 11.4 million units, according to Strategy Analytics.

China’s three smartphone makers Huawei, Oppo and Vivo all saw sales growth in the fourth quarter year-over-year, posing a huge threat to Samsung and Apple.

China’s largest smartphone maker Huawei grabbed 10.2 per cent share with 44.9 million unit sales. This marked the first time the company has ever reached double figures.

“Huawei is struggling at home in China against rivals like Oppo, but its overseas performance in markets like Western Europe is accelerating due to improved smartphone designs, more sophisticated marketing and deeper retail distribution,” Woody Oh, Strategy Analytics’ director, said.

Oppo held a 6.7 per cent market share with 29.5 million unit sales and Vivo had a 5.8 per cent share with 25.6 million unit sales during the same quarter.

The report said smartphone growth is recovering slightly due to stronger demand in major developing markets like China and Africa.

Global smartphone shipments grew an improved 9 per cent annually from 403 million units in the fourth quarter in 2015 to 438.7 million in the same period of 2016. They also grew 3 per cent annually from 1.44 billion in 2015 to a record 1.49 billion in 2016.

Source: The Korea Herald