After seeing a slump in sales figures for quite a while, Apple finally regained its top spot in smartphone sales in the last months of 2016. Samsung had maintained the top spot for most of the past five years, but Apple has now taken the South Korean company's crown by garnering the highest global smartphone sales figures in the fourth quarter of 2016 - according to a recent report that followed Apple's quarterly earnings call.
According to market research firm Strategy Analytics, Apple shipped as many as 78.3 million smartphone in Q4 2017, taking up 17.8 percent market share. Notably, the firm's figures matched Apple's own. Samsung was not far behind and shipped a total of 77.5 million units in the same time, taking up 17.7 percent of market share.
Apple won the battle against Samsung by a thin margin, but it is significant for the company, given its falling sales figures in the recent years. Samsung had managed to be on the top spot for the past many years, but last year bought a lot of turmoil for the company. The slump in numbers can be chiefly attributed to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 failure. Touted to be the blockbuster device, the Galaxy Note 7's unexpected explosion fiasco caused the company billions of dollars apart from goodwill.
"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. Samsung lost momentum in the quarter as a result of its Note 7 battery fiasco," the report adds.
Apple's year-on-year performance also improved by 5 percent, with last year's Q4 shipments at 74.8 million. On an annualised basis, Samsung maintained first position with 309 million units shipped worldwide in 2016, while Apple managed to ship 215.4 million units comparatively.
This improvement in Q4 is largely also credited to the good sales of its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which let go off the headphone jack, introduced 32GB as the base variant, and had a dual camera setup on the larger variant.
Global smartphone shipments improved by 9 percent from 403.0 million units in Q4 2015 to 438.7 million in Q4 2016. Huawei took the third spot with 44.9 million sales in Q4 2016, followed by Oppo and Vivo respectively. Oppo was also touted to be the 'star performer' as it grew a robust 99 percent annually to capture a record 7 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q4 2016. Interestingly, Xiaomi did not make it to the top five list.