Apple Overtakes Samsung As World's Top Smartphone Vendor in Q4 2016

Apple overtook Samsung to become the world's largest smartphone vendor in the fourth quarter of 2016 as shipments reached 439 million units.

According to independent research firm Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments grew 3 percent annually to hit a record 1.5 billion units in 2016. Apple shipped 78.3 million handsets in the fourth quarter of the year – around 800,000 more units than Samsung – allowing it to recapture its number one position with 18 percent global smartphone market share.

smartphone market Q4 2016

Apple shipped 78.3 million smartphones worldwide and captured 18 percent marketshare in Q4 2016, rising a steady 5 percent annually from 74.8 million units in Q4 2015. 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 percent annually from 81.3 million units in Q4 2015.

Bolstered by the popularity of the iPhone 7 and particularly the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple's 5 percent increase in shipments year-over-year helped it secure a 17.8 percent share of the global smartphone market, narrowly beating Samsung's share of 17.7 percent, which was negatively impacted by the company's Note7 battery fiasco. Samsung captured 21 percent share for the full year, marking its lowest level since 2011.

Despite the Q4 results, Samsung maintained first position in annualized figures, with 309 million units shipped worldwide in 2016, compared to Apple's 215 million units. Despite struggling in China against rivals like OPPO, Huawei's impressive overseas performance helped it maintain third position, with a record 10 percent global smartphone market share in Q4 2016 – the first time the company has reached double figures – while OPPO held on to fourth position and grew 99 percent annually to capture a record 7 percent global smartphone market share.

The research comes one day after Apple released its Q1 2017 financial results, in which it reported record results over what corresponds to the fourth calendar quarter of 2016. Cook was bullish on the iPhone's future, and talked up the smartphone's importance across a range of segments, including home automation, health, CarPlay, and enterprise. "I think the smartphone is still in the early innings of the game," Cook said during the earnings call. "App developers are still inventing and there are some exciting things in the pipeline that I feel really good about."

Top Rated Comments

busyscott Avatar
61 months ago
Ironically, both had explosive performance in Q4.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AllieNeko Avatar
61 months ago
Apple and Samsung have different release cycles. For Apple to NOT exceed Samsung in Q4 regularly, shows just how much bigger Samsung is.

The bigger question is - does it matter? Selling more **** will always get you more volume. Samsung's sales lead in units isn't due to flagship phones competing directly with the iPhone. It's due to the millions and millions of unbearably terrible rubbish phones they sell. At the flagship level, where Apple competes, they've always blown Samsung away.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
61 months ago
I don't think anybody a decade ago could have predicted the sales volume of the iPhone. The Nokia 3310 family sold 126 million units in its lifetime. Apple are nearly doubling that number annually. It's mindboggling.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jscooper22 Avatar
61 months ago
this sucks, now they're never gonna make new desktops.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
61 months ago
Total Click bait, I think macrumors is the troll in the room
It's not clickbait, it's exactly what it says. The title states Apple overtakes Samsung as top smartphone vendor in Q4 2016. The numbers show Apple sold 78.3 million in Q4 '16, whilst Samsung sold 77.5 million in Q4 '16. 78.3 is more than 77.5.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Adithya007 Avatar
61 months ago
It's more like Samsung's failure than Apple's own victory.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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