Apple overtakes Samsung in shrinking smartphone market: IDC

Smartphone figures are rubbish

For the full year, a total of 1.472 billion units shipped, from 1473.4 billion the year earlier. Driven by strong results in India, the company is further expanding its worldwide footprint to increase growth.

While the company boasted the iPhone X's popularity and revenue, the the number of iPhone units sold decreased from a year-ago quarter. iPhone sales in Q1 2018 declined one percent from Q1 2017.

All in all, there were either 1.472 or 1.5 billion smartphones shipped worldwide in 2017, which represents either a drop of less than 1 percent or a 1 percent progress over the 2016 tally. "Even though we have seen new full-screen displays, advanced biometrics, and improved artificial intelligence, the new and higher price points could be outweighing the benefits of having the latest and greatest device in hand". Samsung led the smartphone market by volume with a market share of 21% in calendar year 2017.

He notes a longer replacement cycle will mean handset brands might need to tweak their products and go to market strategy.

Apart from this, IDC also presented a report for 2016 global market shipments. Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo were the only brands among top ten which grew YoY-mostly due to strong performances outside of China.

Overall global smartphone shipments touched a record 1.55 billion units in 2017.

Samsung end the year with 317.3 million total phone shipments - up 1.9% from the 311.4 million shipments in 2016.

Chinese brands in general picked up significant pace across the world.

Huawei stayed in third position in Q4, despite intensified competition from Chinese players such as Oppo and Vivo.

As such, smartphone makers shipped fewer phones during the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, according to new data from International Data Corporation. If anything this makes Apple's performance even more impressive since it suffered less of a volume fall than its main competitors. For example, Apple saw its shipments drop by 1.3 percent, and Samsung saw a 4.4 percent dip. The company shipped 28.1 million phones, from 14.3 million the year before. "The aggressive expansion of these brands in markets outside mainland China will be the key to growth as the home market reaches saturation levels in 2018", states the report. Volumes were still enough to push Apple past Samsung and back into first place in the smartphone market, largely because of iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Apple continues to prove that having numerous models at various price points bodes well for bringing smartphone owners to iOS. However, its shipments grew a mere 3 percent in 2017 to cross 318 million.

Commenting on the findings, Jeff Fieldhack, Research Director at Counterpoint Research said, "For the first time in Q4 2017, shipments of seven out of the top ten brands declined YoY signaling a tough quarter for most of the OEMs". Woody Oh, a director at Strategy Analytics, noted that the Chinese company is performing well across Asia and Europe, but is struggling to crack the valuable US market due to limited distribution channels.

Apple finished second for the full year by shipping 215.8 million units, up 0.2 from the year prior. "That's an increase of 30 percent in just two years, which is a testament to the popularity of our products and the loyalty and satisfaction of our customers".

USA gadget giant Apple delivered another obscene set of quarterly numbers, which indicate the high price point of the iPhone X has not put loyalists off. Huawei shipped 41.0 million units, down 9.7 percent from the 45.4 million shipped the year before.

The smartphone market is a very dynamic and vicious one.

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