Gartner Says, Apple Beats Samsung In Q4 Smartphone Sales

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 04, 2015

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Apple regains its quarterly crown for first time since 2011 defeating Samsung in global smartphone sales for the fourth quarter ending December 2014, according to Gartner.

Gartner stated, the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus propelled Apple to the top position for worldwide smartphone sales, commanding a 20.4% share of the market. Samsung finished second with 19.9%, plunging nearly 10% compared to last year.

“Samsung’s performance in the smartphone market deteriorated further in the fourth quarter of 2014, when it lost nearly 10 percentage points in market share,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013. This downward trend shows that Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure.”

Samsung was hit by Apple on one hand and Chinese vendors offering phones at lower prices on the other. “With Apple dominating the premium phone market and the Chinese vendors increasingly offering quality hardware at lower prices, it is through a solid ecosystem of apps, content and services unique to Samsung devices that Samsung can secure more loyalty and longer-term differentiation at the high end of the market,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.

Overall, sales of smartphones worldwide topped 1.2 billion, up 28% from last year. Samsung hopes to reignite interest in its smartphone business with the unveiling the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge that are slated to launch this spring.

For Apple, it was the company’s best quarter ever, selling 74.8 million smartphones worldwide. The shift to larger screens was met by big demand in the U.S. and China.

Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi are also making big gains. “They are producing higher quality devices with appealing new hardware features that can rival the more established players in the mobile phone market,” says Cozza. Xiaomi experienced the largest jump among global smartphone makers, more than tripling smartphone sales numbers compared to a year ago.

However, in January this year, research firm IDC stated that Apple managed to close the gap to a near tie with Samsung in Q4 2014, but right now there is no question that Apple is leading the way.

IDC too noted that Samsung’s challenges have not only come from Apple, but also from the increasing number of low-cost Android OEMs that are putting out products at much lower margins. In order for Samsung to regain its share at the top, it will either have to accept lower margins from here forward or revamp its high-end strategy to compete with Apple.

Ryan Reith, IDC’s Program Director agreed that a few impressive things stand out with regard to Apple. “First, at a time when average selling prices (ASPs) for smartphone are rapidly declining, Apple managed to increase its reported ASPs in the fourth quarter due to higher-cost new models. Second, the growth of iPhone sales in both the U.S., which is considered a saturated market, and China, which presents the dual challenges of strong local competitors and serious price sensitivity, were remarkable.” However, he said right now there is no question that Apple is leading the way.