Did Apple top Samsung in the fourth quarter? Research firms differ

Did Apple top Samsung in the fourth quarter? Research firms differ
By increasing the size of the screen on the Apple iPhone 6 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus to 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches respectively, Apple went after the large-screened Android phones that were taking sales away from the company's iconic smartphone. The strategy worked perfectly, and it is Apple that has rebounded strongly with a calendar fourth quarter that saw it beat all Wall Street estimates with 74.5 million iPhones shipped from October through December.

Was it enough for Apple to become the global smartphone market share leader for the calendar fourth quarter? It depends on which research firm you look at. IDC has Samsung on top with 75.1 million smartphones shipped, good for 20.01% of the market. It was an 11% decline year-over-year as Samsung had 84.4 million smartphones in transit the prior year. IDC places Apple second with 74.5 million units shipped, a 46% increase from the 51 million iPhones it shipped in the 2013 quarter. Apple saw its share of the global smartphone market rise from 17.43% to 19.85%

Lenovo is third, shipping 24.7 million units, giving it 6.59% of the market. That represents a 41.7% increase over last year. Huawei is next with a 6.25% slice of the smartphone pie. In fifth place, Xiaomi saw its market share soar 178.6% from 2.03% in 2013 to 4.42% in 2014. The number of phones it shipped jumped from 5.9 million to 16.6 million. Overall, the number of smartphones shipped globally in the quarter rose to 375.2 million from 292.7 million for a gain of 28.2%.

Counterpoint Research sees things differently. They have Apple on top for the fourth quarter with 74.5 million phones shipped. Samsung is next with 73.8 million units in transit. Counterpoint has Apple controlling 20.2% of the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter compared to 20% for Samsung. Third through fifth places match IDC's results with Lenovo third (25.9 million, 7%), Huawei next (24.2 million, 6.6%) and Xiaomi fifth (17.1 million, 4.6%). For the 2014 fourth quarter, Counterpoint has 369.3 million phones  shipped compared to 302.2 million the prior year. That is a 22.2% gain year-over-year.

So who finished on top for the fourth quarter? Apple fans will point to Counterpoint's stats and the Samsung faithful will agree with IDC. And don't forget the dead heat computed by Strategy Analytics. But all three research firms show the same thing when it comes to momentum. Apple has it and Samsung doesn't.

source: IDC, Counterpoint via WSJ



1. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

If Samsung think they sell more than Apple he would have announce already, but silent instead.

7. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

How can someone make so many mistakes in a single sentence? 1. Samsung doesn't mentioned sales figures, not even in investor calls. Learn before you speak. 2. They have been selling more than Apple since a long time, nothing new in that. 3. They can "think" whatever they like, nothing you can do about it. 4. Samsung is not a "he".

14. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Well, I don't know about that, getting the feeling that both companies are going a bit more silent after the whole trial thing, don't want too much attention. However various sites and people are quick to blow up over stuff like this, and besides if samsung announced that people would just say "But they didn't earn as much" or "Yeah but that was low cost phones" and so on, so what would the point be?

20. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

No they wouldn't have. HATER!

2. FlyingDutch

Posts: 97; Member since: Jan 30, 2015

Does it matter who sold more? What matters is this: "earnings surprise" vs "earnings shock".

4. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

It's for those ultimate Apple fanboys like Darkkjedii and Mxyzptlk to brag to those who criticize Apple.

6. FlyingDutch

Posts: 97; Member since: Jan 30, 2015

Blind fanboys like yours simply don't want to know how the biz world works: Things that don't make enough profits just suck. PS: Your beloved Sony will bite the dust very soon only because it didn't make enough profits.

15. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

"things that don't make enough profit just suck" So clearly ALL but the rich 1% of people suck? really? because that's not how I see it.

19. TBomb

Posts: 1650; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Wit that thinking.. then IF apple dropped the price of the iphone then suddenly the iphone would suck? Value isn't in the price. It's in the product.

3. GeorgeDao123

Posts: 432; Member since: Aug 20, 2013

Note4 was not enough to save Samsung. They should have launched less models and less units.

5. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

What I'm happy to see is that Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi still remain strong and rise even more.

8. FlyingDutch

Posts: 97; Member since: Jan 30, 2015

Your beloved Chinese ones are absolutely incompetent outside their home country.

9. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

At least I "belove" Sony and the Chinese manufacturers, unlike you Apple trolls who blindly support Apple for nothing and bash the others for sharing their opinions. Typical blind Apple troll, can't even get some fresh Air, not even a Mini amount of fresh Air.

10. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Due to Apple's portfolio they earn more, while Sammy earns less. Good to see LG on the list.

11. SuperNova

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

Don't worry, this quarter Samsung will destroy Apple for sure with the Galaxy S6, just wait.

13. FlyingDutch

Posts: 97; Member since: Jan 30, 2015

How? Last year, the GS5 lost to 5s even in its launching quarter where 5s was already 8 months old. And everyone knew by that time that the next iPhone was just 4 months away.

12. wando77

Posts: 1168; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

I love that any time anybody mentions apple fan boys it's these two jokers ....Darkkjedii and Mxyzptlk lol

16. gadget_lover

Posts: 35; Member since: Jun 30, 2009

I think that whoever sold the most, the fact that Samsung is selling less year by year and apple is increasing its sales, is worrying for Samsung. The competition is not Apple against Samsung only, but IOS devices against Android devices. I still believe that Samsung products are of a better specs, ideas and technology than apple, however they have a large competition from other companies producing android devices, whereas apple have none who produce IOS devices. Therefore, the problem for Samsung is their android competitors and not apple. One also has to keep in mind that apple/IOS loyal clients/fans have been craving for a phablet for these past two years so such record sales of iphone 6/6+ was predictable. It would be interesting to see, a similar analysis, in the next two coming quarters.

17. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

Does it really matter who sold more smartphones? Samsung has a mixed bag of high end to low end phones, while Apple only have high ends. So if the numbers are near to each other Apple is the winner, no point arguing that.

22. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Apple doesn't sell high end phones. if they do please show me one of them? The 6 PLus is no high end, maybe its Apple's high end, but compared to other phones its not. 1080 displays were on phones in late 2011. Its now 2015.where phones now have 2k displays. Most phones have quadcore and 2/3GB of RAM, the iPhone still has 1GB. Most phones have 16, 20, 40MP cameras, on the back, while the iPhone still has 8. Many phones have 3.7, 5MP front cameras, while the iPhone still has 2MP. Most phones record 1080P with the front camera, the iPhone still does only 720P. Would you care to try again. I am happy Apple sold a lot of phones, that is their business after all. But to claim their products are high end is simply laughable at best. If you take3 year old hardware and shove it in a metal case, that doesn't make it a high end device. That is where Apple has so many fooled. Yet the same fans, if Samsung was t release a 720p or 1080p phone now, they get blasted on he the adolescent trolling fans.

23. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

They are high end in the sense that they are priced in that segment (and people buys them). I don´t agree that a phones should be measured by the specificiations only, but that´s up to you. My only point is that it doesn´t matter how many phones you sell if you don´t make money out of them. And the ones that make more money are Apple, so for me they are the winner this round.

18. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

do sales figures even matter now? it's in the news. apple broke all time corporate earnings records. that's it. besides, apple never claimed to be on top. samsung still sold more, if all other smartphone models (entry to mid-range models) are included in the count. however, because apple only manufacturers and sells high end devices, their figures are something samsung can only dream of. i wish samsung can rise again by reclaiming the sales lost to chinese manufacturers. with samsung vs china brands, i'd go for samsung any day. samsung may just need to adjust the prices a bit.

21. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Samsung sold 330M phones last year, Apple sold 180M, so no, Samsung still leads. There are 12 months in a year, not 3.

24. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

According to this article -http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-loses-some-grip-fourth-quarter-profits-down-27_id65334, Samsung sold 95M phones in Q4 2014, of which 80% were smartphones. 80% of 95M is 76M phones. So Apple and Samsung are close. However, Samsung has sold on average 80M+ smartphones for 2 years in a row. In 2013 they sold 150M of the 2 flagships and sold a total of 350M smartphones period. In 2014 they sold 330M smartphones. That is still well over 80M per quarter. That's a lot of frikkin phones. Apple does it one quarter and we are all happy, yet Samsung had been doing this for 2 full years and no love for them? Hah! is it because they aren't an American company? Why b so happy for Apple? They don't even sell American made products. Like Samsung their products are made overseas too. They both are the top dogs, why does it have to be a fight over who sold more. Samsung will always make less money vs Apple because they distribute more hardware, which cost them money. They make their own stuff, which cost them more money. They have so many models to make, which costs them more money. Apple's model is 1 phone sell as many as we can make and add one new feature each time so the people who bought last year will buy the next one too. We should all be happy they are fighting which means we have a chance to get even better innovative products from Samsung, that Apple at some point will copy to make their phone better as we have seen in the past 3 models. Yet again an outside company is pushing American companies to do better and it should be the other way around.

25. ronjr123

Posts: 88; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

What techie said.

26. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1360; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

I think every one is missing an important point here and that is that Apple did a fantastic Job in selling their larger phones that their public have been requesting for years. Congratulations Tim Cook and company. However, here is the irony - Android as a whole sold over 1 billion phone in 2014 as opposed to 74 million sold by Apple. You have to look at Android as many manufactures - Chinese , Indian, Eastern Europe, Latin American and even American upstarts companies along with the established brands like HTC, Samsung, Motorola and Sony are selling a combined record number of smart phones Android is slated to top in 2015 over 1 billion sold phones. That's a lot of devices. Either way these companies foreign or domestic are making hand over fist an obscene amount of money. Again Congratulations to Apple and The other device manufactures

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.