Gartner estimates that 77 million iPhones were shipped, giving it 17.9 per cent of the global market (up 2.2 per cent from last year), while Samsung was a tight second with 76.8 million units sold (17.8 per cent of the market, down from 20.7 per cent a year ago). Apple, meanwhile, capitalized on Samsung's misfortune ramping up iPhone production at various points in the last six months. Smartphone sales in general saw a five percent bump from 2015, totaling almost 1.5 billion units.
Apple has overtaken Samsung as the top smartphone manufacturer worldwide for the first time in two years.
"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 Mr. Gupta. Huawei wasn't much behind; selling 40 thousand units, it made to the third spot.
Chinese smartphone producer Huawei made big strides previous year to narrow the gap between itself and its main rivals Samsung and Apple, the Gartner consultancy group reported Wednesday. In the premium segment, Samsung was greatly affected by the discontinuation of its Galaxy Note 7 flagship, while mid-range and entry-level Samsung phones saw fierce competition from Huawei, Oppo and BlackBerry, which holds the fifth position globally. This is again a small margin above Samsung's 17.8% of the global market share. The Cupertino-based tech giant, which has been on a winning streak over the past year, just did something it hasn't been able to do in two years: Call itself the world's top smartphone company. Huawei director said they are optimistic the launch will help steer the company to position two in a span of two years. Oppo, BBK (the company behind OnePlus series), Xiaomi, and Huawei all saw rise in their worldwide sales.
Gupta said: "Huawei is poised to reduce the gap further with the No. 2 global smartphone vendor", said Mr. Gupta.
Google's Android extended its lead in the smartphone operating system (OS) market by capturing 82 percent of the total market in the fourth quarter of 2016 where it also grew its market share by 3.2 percentage points to reach an 84.8 percent share.
BBK, nearly unknown in the West, is now the number one smartphone brand in China, he said.
Windows Mobile fell 0.8 percent to 0.3 percent market share, during the quarter, making any sort of comeback for the OS incredibly challenging.