SAMSUNG RETAINED its spot as the world's number one smartphone vendor in the fourth quarter having sold more smartphones than second-place Apple during the three-month period.
The latest figures from IDC reveal that Samsung shifted 85.6 million smartphones in Q4 2015, up from 75.1 million this time last year, bagging itself 21.4 percent of the global market.
However, despite this seemingly good news, Samsung reported this week that its profits sank 40 percent in Q4 owing to slowing smartphone shipments, and that the firm expects the struggle to continue into 2016.
Still, at 85.6 million, Samsung's smartphone shipments trump those of Apple in the latest quarter. Apple reported on Tuesday that the firm sold 74.78 million smartphones in the first quarter of fiscal 2016, up very slightly on the 74.46 million this time last year. This is lower than the 75.5 million figure analysts had pessimistically expected, but is still the most iPhones sold in a single quarter.
IDC, which puts Apple's share of the global smartphone market at 18.7 percent, takes a more optimistic view than most, saying that the numbers show that Apple's handset line-up is "still alive and kicking".
Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, said: "A new record-setting quarter for Apple indicates consumers' continued demand for Apple's latest offerings regarding upgraded hardware and software. Features such as a more widely accepted Apple Pay, increased performance and the innovative Force Touch technology continue to set the iPhone apart from the competition."
Things are looking pretty rosy for Chinese outfit Huawei too, which clung onto the number three spot with 32.4 million smartphones sold between October and December. This gives the firm an 8.1 percent slice of the pie, up from 6.3 percent this time last year.
This is the strongest year-on-year growth of any vendor, IDC said, crediting it to the firm's affordable handsets aimed at emerging markets and "increasingly competitive" high-end line-up.
Lenovo took fourth place on IDC's list with 5.1 percent of the market, followed by Xiaomi with 4.6 percent.
Overall, IDC noted that this quarter marked the highest year of shipments on record, up 10.1 percent from the 1,301.7 million units shipped in 2014.
Analyst outfit Kantar Worldpanel ComTech also cast its eye over the smartphone market this week, revealing that Windows Phone is the fastest growing mobile operating system in the UK. µ
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