Despite much criticism Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has done the magic with iPhone 7; after the release of latest data on worldwide smartphone shipments in Q4 2016 by IDC, it’s evident that Samsung has paid a hefty price for the debacle of Galaxy Note 7. However, it took five years for Apple to dethrone Samsung by shipping the maximum number of smartphones (iPhone) in a quarter.
In Q4 2016, Samsung shipped 77.5 million units, with a year over year decline of 5.2%. It has made the Korean smartphone giant slip to number two position in the list of quarterly smartphone shipments worldwide as Apple shipped more iPhones in the same quarter. The iPhone maker registered 4.7% YoY growth in Q4 2016 by shipping 78.3 million units of iPhone.
Undoubtedly, the fourth calendar quarter of every year remains the most favourable quarter for Apple. Due to the holiday season sales and Apple’s strategy to kick off the sales of new iPhone by the end of the third quarter every year, Apple registers record-breaking sales of iPhone in the fourth quarter. However, it was only Q4 2011 before this quarter when Apple was marginally ahead of Samsung in the shipments of smartphones. Though in Q4 2014, it was again a close contest between Apple and Samsung but the later one safeguarded its supreme position with a marginal difference.
Interestingly, in 2016, Apple and Samsung both faced severe criticism and a lukewarm response from the market, it was Apple that turned the table in the fourth quarter. While the quarterly shipment figure of iPhone was on the constant decline compared to the year-ago quarters during the whole year, the unprecedented “batterygate issue” made Samsung bleed badly and cost the company nearly $3 billion.
In October last year research from KGI Securities estimated that after the recall of Galaxy Note 7, 5-7 million users would switch to iPhone. However, after the release of latest data on smartphone shipments in Q4 2016 and considering the gap between the shipments by Samsung and Apple in previous quarters, apparently, Samsung lost a lot many users than expected.
Worldwide Smartphone Shipments Q4 2016
Among the top five vendors who, together, captured nearly 60% of worldwide smartphone shipments in Q4 2016, Samsung remained the only smartphone manufacturer that lost grounds.
The two Chinese smartphone manufacturers, Oppo and Vivo, have been very aggressive in pursuing India smartphone market. Oppo emerged as the top gainer with 116.6% YoY growth by shipping 31.2 million units of smartphones, capturing 7.3% of worldwide smartphone shipments in Q4 2016. Besides Oppo, it’s only Vivo that recorded more than 100% quarter growth by shipping 24.7 million units of smartphones.
But it was Huawei that sealed the third position in the list by shipping 45.4 million units of smartphones in Q4 2016. By being the largest smartphone manufacturer in China, Huawei is trying to capture the sizable share of worldwide smartphone shipments market by capitalising on the company’s decades of experience in the mobile industry. In Q4 2016, it’s the very first time when Huawei’s shipments share soared to double-digit. As compare to 107 million units of smartphones shipped in 2015, Huawei shipped 139.3 million units of smartphones in 2016 with a record 30.2% growth in its yearly shipment.