The number of smartphones delivered to end users in Q1 totalled 349 million globally, compared to 336 in the same period in 2015. Apple shipped 51.6 million iPhones to maintain its number two spot in the top five largest makers, while Samsung reached unit sales of 81.2 million to maintain its position as number one. The figures show Samsung extended its lead over Apple in the same period with a 23.2 percent market share, despite a slight decline from 24.1% in Q1 2015.
Oppo had the best performance in the first quarter of 2016, moving into the number 4 position among the top-five smartphone vendors with unit sales growth of 145%. Like Huawei and Xiaomi, Oppo saw strong growth in China, taking share from the likes of Lenovo, Samsung and Yulong, Gartner indicated.
The overall growth in smartphone sales was put down to a demand for low-cost handsets in emerging markets and more affordable 4G promotion plans globally.
In a separate note disclosed by research firm IDC yesterday, more Google Chromebooks were sold in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2016 than Apple's entire Mac line.
Apple's Mac shipments are estimated to have been around 1.76 million in Q1 this year, according to an IDC analyst who spoke to The Verge, while combined estimates for Dell, HP, and Lenovo put the number of low-cost Chromebooks sold at 2 million in the same quarter.
IDC put the Chromebook's sales growth down to their appeal in the education sector, with wide uptake across K-12 schools in the United States. The milestone also comes at a time when Mac sales have held steady while PC shipments have seen an overall decline, making the news more of a concern for Microsoft as it tries to maintain its dominance in the low-cost laptop market.
The research firm also predicted a "modest rebound" over the coming months as buyers consider transitioning to Windows 10 and a continued increase Chromebook sales.