iPhones out­sell Sam­sung smart­phones

Ap­ple beats Sam­sung in Q4 2016, writes Peter Sayer

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

Ap­ple has over­taken Sam­sung in smart­phone sales for the first time in two years, but don’t count on it stay­ing ahead for long. The Korean firm sold 76.8 mil­lion smart­phones in the fourth quar­ter, giv­ing it a mar­ket share of 17.8 per­cent, but it was just beaten by Ap­ple, which sold 77 mil­lion iPhones for a 17.9 per­cent share, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from Gart­ner.

The fourth quar­ter is usu­ally a strong one for Ap­ple, boosted by hol­i­day sales of the new gen­er­a­tion of iPhones it re­leases each Septem­ber, said An­shul Gupta, a re­search di­rec­tor at Gart­ner.

For Sam­sung, though, 2016 ended par­tic­u­larly badly, dom­i­nated by the fi­asco around the re­call

of its in­cen­di­ary Gal­axy Note7. Hand­sets such as the Note7 could have ac­counted for 10- to 15 per­cent of Sam­sung’s smart­phone sales in the pe­riod be­fore its re­call, said Gupta, but the firm lost more than that: there was also the dam­age to its brand. It could bounce back sooner rather than later, though, as it has a new flag­ship phone com­ing out at the end of March.

Ap­ple, mean­while, is ex­pected to wait un­til Septem­ber be­fore un­veil­ing new iPhones. This year will mark the iPhone’s tenth an­niver­sary, and the next model is widely ex­pected to be some­thing spe­cial, so Ap­ple fans may de­lay re­plac­ing phones un­til then, said Gupta. That would leave the way clear for Sam­sung to move back into the lead from this quar­ter.

That pat­tern showed up last year, too: al­though it dom­i­nated the fourth quar­ter, Ap­ple was a dis­tant sec­ond over the full year, with mar­ket share of just 14.4 per­cent over the year, far be­hind Sam­sung’s 20.5 per­cent, and the sit­u­a­tion was sim­i­lar in 2015.

While the giants slug it out, a more in­ter­est­ing bat­tle is go­ing on just be­neath them, as the next three com­pa­nies in the fourth-quar­ter smart­phone rank­ings are all Chi­nese. Huawei Tech­nolo­gies is in third place with a world­wide smart­phone mar­ket share of 9.5 per­cent, with fourth and fifth taken by Oppo (6.2 per­cent) and BBK Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Equip­ment (5.6

per­cent), two com­pa­nies that many con­sider to be part of the same con­glom­er­ate. Gart­ner treats them sep­a­rately be­cause, what­ever their share­hold­ing struc­ture, they op­er­ate in­de­pen­dently, each with their own prod­uct team.

BBK, al­most un­known in the West, is now the num­ber one smart­phone brand in China, he said. A year ago, though, that honor went to Oppo, and the year be­fore that, Huawei. Pre­vi­ous years saw the Chi­nese mar­ket topped by Xiaomi and Sam­sung.

These com­pa­nies have pushed Ap­ple and Sam­sung aside in their home mar­ket, and are ex­pand­ing across South Asia.

“Even in their cur­rent ex­pan­sion, Oppo is not fo­cus­ing just on emerg­ing mar­kets, but also on de­vel­oped mar­kets like Aus­tralia,” said Gupta, so we may soon see them climb­ing up the rank­ings in Europe and the US, too.

The key in­gre­di­ents for that are al­ready in their prod­ucts, he said. “Oppo and BBK make great phones in terms of fea­ture set. They have in­te­grated high-end fea­tures like dual cam­eras and fast charge.”

Sam­sung Gal­axy Note7

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