Story image

Apple back on top in smartphone battle - but the Chinese are gaining fast

16 Feb 2017

Apple is back on top in the fiercely fought global smartphone market according to Gartner – but Chinese smartphone vendors are making inroads and threatening to disrupt the market.

The analyst firm says the fourth quarter of 2016 saw Apple leapfrog past Samsung to secure top spot for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2014, eeking out a win by 256,000 units – the closest the two leaders have been.

Overall in 2016, smartphone sales to end users totaled nearly 1.5 billion units, up 5% on 2015’s figures, with Q4 seeing a 7% year on year increase.

Anshul Gupta, Gartner research director, says Samsung’s smartphone sales declined 8% in the fourth quarter of 2016 and its share dropped by 2.9 percentage points year on year, ending the year with a Q4 market share of 17.8% versus 17.9% for Apple.

“Samsung’s smartphone sales started to drop in the third quarter of 2016, and the decision to discontinue the Galaxy Note 7 slowed down sales of its smartphone portfolio in the fourth quarter,” Gupta says.

“The withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 left a gap in its large-screen phone range,” he adds.

Samsung also faced increased competition in the midtier and entry-level smartphone segments from Huawei, Oppo, BBK and Gionee, who all grew.

In fact, Gartner says the top Chinese smartphone vendors grew their market share by 7.3 percentage points in Q4, with Huawei, Oppo and BBK accounting for 21.3% of smartphones sold to endusers during the quarter.

“Huawei introduced Mate 9 during the quarter – within a month of Samsung discontinuing the Galaxy Note 7 – which was good timing to position it as an alternative,” Gupta says.

He says Huawei’s premium smartphone offering has helped reduce the gap with Samsung, with a difference of 36 million units in Q4, down from more than 50 million units a year earlier.

Gupta says the release of Mate 9 with Alexa – due to start shipping into the US in this quarter, will reduce the gap further.

Oppo maintained its number one position in China, aided by high-performance, front facing cameras and fast charging smartphones. It’s continued strength in China and continuing growth outside of China have helped Oppo become the number four smartphone vendor globally.

BKK, the number two in China – marginally ahead of Huawei – and its strong performance in India where sales were up 278% in Q4 and more than 363% for the full year, saw it become the number five smartphone vendor.

Gartner says top Chinese brands including Oppo, BKK, Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi and Lenovo will contiue to disrupt Samsung and Apple this year as they aggressively expand beyond China.

Zoom’s new Rooms and Meetings features
Zoom has released information about the upcoming releases for its Rooms and Meeting offerings for 2019.
Aussie company set to democratise direct-to-orbit IoT access
Adelaide-based Myriota has released a developer toolkit that has been trialled and tested by a smart waste management platform.
Apple's AirPods now come with 'Hey Siri' functionality
The new AirPods come with a standard case or a Wireless Charging Case that holds additional charges for more than 24 hours of listening time.
Dynatrace takes pole position in APM Magic Quadrant
It placed highest on Ability to Execute and furthest on Completeness of Vision in the 2019 Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring (APM).
HCL and Xerox expand strategic partnership
Under the terms of the agreement, HCL will manage portions of Xerox’s shared services, including global administrative and support functions.
Avaya expands integration with Google Cloud AI
This includes embedding Google’s machine learning within conversation services for the contact centre, enabling integration of AI capabilities.
Forrester names Crowdstrike leader in incident response
The report provides an in-depth evaluation of the top 15 IR service providers across 11 criteria.
Poly appoints new A/NZ managing director, Andy Hurt
“We’re excited to be bringing together two established pioneers in audio and video technology to be moving forward and one business – Poly."