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

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