Smartphone sales grew at a moderate seven percent globally in the fourth quarter of 2016 and stood at a total of 432 million units, according to research firm Gartner. The numbers also showed Apple stood as the number one smartphone vendor beating Samsung. Overall, the year 2016 saw smartphone sales at 1.5 billion units, percent which was an increasing percent from 2015.
“The last time Apple was in the leading position was in the fourth quarter of 2014, when its sales were driven by its first ever large-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus,” Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner said in a press statement. “This time it achieved it thanks to strong sales of its flagship phones the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus; it also benefited from the weakened demand for Samsung’s smartphones in mature markets such as North America and Western Europe, and in some mature markets in Asia such as Australia and South Korea.”
For Samsung this was the second consecutive quarter in which it saw quarterly smartphone sales drop.
“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,” added Gupta.
“The withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 left a gap in its large-screen phone range,” he pointed.
Samsung also faces increasing competition in the mid-range and entry-level smartphone segments from Chinese players like Huawei, Oppo, BBK and Gionee. Gartner says all of these players saw their sales grow each quarter.
“Samsung needs to successfully launch the next Galaxy flagship phone in order to continue the momentum Galaxy S7 generated, and win back lost customers by launching a new large screen and stylus-equipped smartphone,” said Gupta.