Smartphones see ‘closest ever quarter’ as Blackberry drops off the radar

It might have taken eight quarters, but Apple now sits atop of the smartphone pile with Samsung close behind. The gap between the two is so slim that says research firm Gartner says that the fourth quarter of 2016 was the closest ever between the two. Overall the smartphone market grew 7 per cent in the last quarter with an estimated 431,539,300 devices sold. 

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). This is the second consecutive dip for Samsung, with the complete recall of the Galaxy Note 7 being a big factor. "The withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 left a gap in its large-screen phone range," said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner.

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei reinforced its position in third place with a market share of 8.9 per cent – up from 7.3 per cent year on year. The highest-profile Chinese brands – Huawei, Oppo and BBK – accounted for 21.3 percent of smartphones sold worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2016, an increase of 7.3 per cent. "Huawei introduced Mate 9 during the quarter – within a month of Samsung discontinuing the Galaxy Note 7 – which was good timing to position it as an alternative," said Mr. Gupta.

In the smartphone OS market, Blackberry’s fortunes are less than great with the company’s market share bottoming out at 0.0 per cent. The company shipped 207,000 phones, but that is less than half the unit volume of the ‘other OS’ category. It might not quite be 0.0 per cent, Microsoft probably won’t be too happy with the year-on-year drop of Windows share of the mobile space from a 1.1 per cent market share to 0.3 per cent (a little under 1.1 million units shipped). This isn’t entirely surprising given that HP’s Elite X3 was the only real standout phone to be running Windows. 

This basically leaves the smartphone market down to the two key operating system makers: Google’s Android (81.7 per cent) and Apple’s iOS (17.9 per cent share).

Have a look at the full breakdown from Gartner below.

Table 1. Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 4Q16 (Thousands of Units)

Table 2. Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2016 (Thousands of Units)

Table 3. Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 4Q16 (Thousands of Units)

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