The iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X helped Apple overtake Samsung in the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2017, a report by IDC has said. Interestingly, this was the first time since last year when the Cupertino, California company gained with the leadership as Samsung was dominating the market in the first three quarters of the year.
IDC through its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker revealed that a total of 403.5 million smartphone units were shipped during the fourth quarter, resulting in a 6.3 percent decline compared to 430.7 million units shipped in the same quarter of 2016. For the full year, nearly 1.5 billion units shipped, showing an year-on-year dip of less than 1 percent, the research firm said. The prime reason for the quarterly decline is considered to be the drop in shipments specifically in developed markets, including China and the US, where consumers didn't largely prefer to upgrade to the newest generation of high-priced flagship devices.
But notwithstanding the drop in the total shipments, Apple received the leadership crown. IDC considers that the launch of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X largely contributed to Apple's success in the fourth quarter. However, the iPhone maker did experience a slight decrease in year-on-year shipments, 1.3 percent to be exact, with the iPhone shipment volumes reaching 77.3 million units in the last quarter. The company also reportedly saw a small year-on-year gain of merely 0.2 percent, with 215.8 million units shipped in the full year 2017. "Apple continues to prove that having numerous models at various price points bodes well for bringing smartphone owners to iOS," the research firm said in its report.
With the marginal growth of Apple, Samsung went down to the second position with reported shipments of 74.1 million units in the fourth quarter, down 4.4 percent compared to the 77.5 million units in the same quarter of 2016. Throughout the year, the South Korean company is said to have shipped 317.3 million units, up 1.9 percent from the 311.4 million shipments in 2016. IDC says that Samsung has managed to remain on top through "thick and thin" in spite of facing collective pressure from Chinese players and Apple, and the failure of Galaxy Note 7. Moreover, the Galaxy S9 launch, which is taking place at MWC 2018 in Barcelona later this month, may even help the company win over both new and current customers this year.
Apart from the market leaders, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo retained their positions in the top-five smartphone vendors in the worldwide market compared to Q3 2017. Huawei continued to hold the number three position with shipments of 41 million units, down 9.7 percent from the 45.4 million shipped in the fourth quarter of 2016. Xiaomi, on the other hand, emerged as the only vendor in the top five to see an increase in units shipped in the fourth quarter. The Chinese giant also managed to more than double its market share to 7 percent from 3.3 percent over Q3 the previous year. Contrarily, Oppo dropped one place in the fourth quarter and took the fifth spot with total shipments of 27.4 million units in the fourth quarter.
"Many high-profile companies offered their widest product portfolio ever in hopes of capturing a greater audience. Meanwhile, brands outside the top 5 struggled to maintain momentum as value brands such as Honor, Vivo, Xiaomi, and OPPO offered incredible competition at the low end, and brands like Apple, Samsung, and Huawei maintained their stronghold on the high end," said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst, IDC.