IDC: Samsung still leads Apple in smartphone market as Chinese brands surge

IDC: Samsung still leads Apple in smartphone market as Chinese brands surge
Apple's smartphone sales fell for the very first time during Q1 2016, and if the words of KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo are to be heeded, the iPhone 7 won't be able to stop a year-on-year decline in iPhone shipments for the entirety of 2016. Close rival Samsung, conversely, is revelling in its competitor's misfortune, and buoyed by strong sales of the coveted Galaxy S7 duo, has cemented its place at the summit of the smartphone market. 

According to figures collated by research firm IDC, the South Korean firm did see a very slight dip in smartphone shipments compared with the first quarter of last year. But with 81.9 million devices shipped versus 82.4 million in Q1 2015, there's no real cause for alarm. Compare these numbers with Apple's drop from 61.2 million in Q1 2015 to 51.2 million over the January-to-March quarter this year, and it's clear to see which of the Big Two is currently winning. 

IDC reports that the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge sold 'vigorously' during the month of March, when it shipped a reported 10 million units out to eager early adopters. These numbers beat even the estimates of analysts, and Samsung could further its advantage over Apple looking ahead to the Galaxy Note 6 later this year. The iPhone 7, from what we hear, won't be much to write home about, and if it does fail to impress, Sammy and numerous other Android vendors will be waiting in the wings. 

Speaking of which, Chinese firm Huawei was third in IDC's shipments round-up with 27.5 million phones sold—a healthy increase of 10 million from the corresponding quarter of 2015. Oppo (18.5 million) and Vivo (14.3 million), meanwhile, took fourth and fifth spot, displacing Xiaomi and Lenovo in the process.

source: IDC via c|net



1. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1382; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Well no one stays on top forever, Samsung will have it's day and then whoever else pops up with their own revolutionary device.

3. SenorThrottles

Posts: 284; Member since: Dec 23, 2015

The good thing about Samsung compared to the other companies who were once top is that Samsung adapts quite quickly and listens to feedback. If Samsung keeps this up and addresses other problems, such as their software and pricing, I think they'll be able to remain on top for a very long time (well until the next revolutionary phones comes out.)

20. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Samsung is the OEM who will bring the next revolutionary phone. /S I'm looking for Google's Project Aura modular smartphone to be the next revolution. Either that or Samsung makes a full bending/foldable phone. Though both option could be the next big thing, I am not sure it will be a consumer mass produce items. More of a niche product.

29. French_Toast

Posts: 98; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

Even my grandmother who is 90 wants to change his iphone for a new Samsung to always have the best!

31. QuasarExod

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 29, 2016

Grandmother change his iphone?

32. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

plot twist..

41. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Grandmother probably needs a sex change more then changing an iPhone....

36. Sovat_fc

Posts: 224; Member since: Aug 30, 2014

You're drunk, dude!

5. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1382; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Apple reached its saturation point and you could tell with the SE model that it was in trouble when it came to design changes. Really how many ways can you design a smartphone? Triangle, Square ( think the old Motorola did this already) Round, Hex, etc.. I think what apple will do is finally add an Super AMOLED Curve screen with QHD resolution, Waterproofing, SD card slot, Infra blaster, Dual pixel focus, 16 Mpx camera, 1.7f stop lens, 5mpx front shooter etc.. Basically next year it will ask Samsung to built it a hybrid S6 and S7.

8. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1382; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Which would mean that the are basically admitting that Samsung's hardware was the best all along or that since prices are now cheap enough they can now use it and demand a higher margin for hardware that has been in existence for years ( I don't buy the "Reality distortion field" that the product is now mature enough for them to uses. No what they mean is it is cheaper now to produce for them). Now either way you look at this it is a WIN-WIN for Samsung that played its cards brilliantly - it invested ind R&D and Manufacturing capacity. the 2 billion it gave Apple will come right back to Samsung and more in 2017.

14. tedkord

Posts: 17511; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

They haven't given Apple anywhere near $2 billion. Not even close to $1 billion.

15. killer7D

Posts: 551; Member since: Sep 18, 2014

No one can deny the fact that Samsung hardware is the best

22. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Yep, that is why Apple uses it. How many articles have we read, where Apple claimed to have ditch Samsung on something, only to use them for something else? The only way Apple can fully ditch Samsung, would be to open their own factory and make their own hardware. But they won't, because more overhead means less profits. Apple needs all the money it can save, because when the iPhone sales keep dropping, they will need that cash to carry them until they ripoff someone elses idea. The Next Big Thing from Apple? An iPad running OS X. Just watch. I'm calling it to be released by 2018.

40. Cicero

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

Until then you will have Android melt in Chrome os.

6. TerryTerius unregistered

The functionality of smart phones is slowly being broken out into more specialized devices as IOT comes and more into focus, and in the long run true artificial intelligence is being worked towards. For Facebook, Google, Amazon and a few others at least, they are basically trying to get to the point where we have intelligence that functions like the AI in the movie HER. Who knows what will come before that, but I don't think smart phones are going away for a while longer. Even as the form changes.

19. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Unless Samsung falls from selling 300M phones a year to 200M, who is presently the nearest OEM to past them? If you combine all the other Android sales to Samsung and take Samsung out, do they even combined for a similar sales total? Android is 53% of the us market, which Samsung has 27% of. Android is 80+% of the world market. How much of that is Samsung. In the last quarter of 2015, which is Apple's fiscal 1st, Samsung shipped 85M smartphones, while Apple only shipped close to 75M. I am sure Apple gets all the praise, because after all they are a US company. But yet again, Samsung sold 80M phones in a quarter for basically the how manyeth time in a row on average? If Apple actually showed the sales models independently, you will see the new models release has only a small bearing on the 1st quarter sales. Simply because the phone only goes into production roughly 3 months before its released. Apple never even has enough supply to fill pre-orders. If they get 10M pre-order, 1/2 the people get a phone right away, while the rest have to wait as much as 8 weeks. It takes 2 selling quarters for the new model to even break even or pass the previous model in sales, which we saw with the iPhone 6. It took until the end of Apple's fiscal second to finally past the 5S sales. The benefit of more models is you're not rely on the most recent to carry sales at the very beginning. Though I would say, as many models as Samsung offers in so many markets, 80M seems low. Seems they would sell 100M every quarter. So some markets like in very poor countries, they likely don't sell more than a few 1000 at best. Its gonna be a tough year for every OEM, but Apple is so far suffering the biggest loss.

39. Supersonic

Posts: 226; Member since: May 15, 2015

For last 15 years samsung has largest market share in memory chips and Television. No one could replace them in such a long time hence I feel displacing them from top in mobile phone will be difficult in short term.

2. TerryTerius unregistered

I'm seriously hoping this applies pressure to Apple to begin thinking outside of the box, or to at least to return to their roots and focus on their strengths. They've been a bit distracted as of late, iOS is not as cohesive as it should be and they aren't giving compelling reasons to upgrade. I want every vendor giving it their all in doing their best. It doesn't feel like Apple is doing that at all. I get that even with lower shipments they made far more money than anyone else because of their healthy margins, but even still they have to recognize they need a shift in strategy. That said, congratulations on your apparent success with the S7 twins Samsung. You deserve it.

4. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

It has nothing to do with iOS. That can still change since its software. The problem that Apple has right now is market saturation and the fact that the S cycle just doesn't cut it anymore. Add to that that they may come out with yet another S model and there you have the issue. People want iPhone 8 plain and simple!

7. TerryTerius unregistered

I'm speaking on two distinct ideas.I didn't connect my opinions on iOS to their sales figures. I said that (in my opinion) they need to work on iOS because it's become cluttered and a bit muddled. I know it can change, that was kinda my whole point. And you're right, I'm well aware of high market saturation (especially in the high end), high customer satisfaction with their current devices, the plateauing tech, etc. I have my doubts even a revolutionary idea could take them but so far in this current environment, but it would certainly be nice to see them return to form. I'm not really sure why you jumped directly to 8 though, no one actually knows what's going to happen with 7 yet.

9. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Yea every iFan is trying to justify this with market saturation excuse but if that was the case then everyone else would be in the same boat. Even still, declining numbers when Apple keeps stating that over 50% of iPhone users are using a pre 6 model with almost no one buying the SE clearly shows that it isn't just saturation, but active weaking of Apple as a brand. This is how the decline begins, when complacency and mediocrity starts becoming obvious to the casual user who then look elsewhere. The hardcore fanboys though usually continue on.

11. TerryTerius unregistered

Everyone else is in the same boat. Sales are going down nearly across the board, the Chinese brands are exempt to this but that's mostly because of the sheer size of the market. Growth was nearly flat for the entire industry this past quarter. Doesn't matter whether you like android or iOS, that is the reality of the industry right now. Samsung is doing exceptionally well in the face of that, but even they are no longer generating the record profits and salesfigures they once were. And the trend of people holding onto their smart phones for a longer period of time applies near universally as well, it's agnostic to brand or OS. That largely has to do with satisfaction with their current devices and the lack of a reason to upgrade.

13. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1382; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

"And the trend of people holding onto their smart phones for a longer period of time applies near universally as well, it's agnostic to brand or OS. That largely has to do with satisfaction with their current devices and the lack of a reason to upgrade." Terry you hit the proverbial nail on the head. I could not agree more with that statement- Case in point I made my smartphone selection based on which smartphone had the best camera because, as I grow older, I am finding out that capturing the moments to look back on are vital. I want those moments to be bright, clear, sharp and vibrant on prints and screen. I drop my HtC M8 ( wonderfully designed phone) and it's 4 mp dual lens camera for the S6 16 mp low light camera. Now the S7 is out but was it a compelling reason for me to upgrade? No. I still find that the S6 is a photo beast and that its CPU/GPU are still top notch. Touch-wiz ( believe it or not) is actually very smooth and this is all on android 5.1; not even marshmallow yet. The S6 still meets all my check boxes - the same way the 6S and S6+ will still meet many check boxes for iOS users and the 7 will not have any compelling offering for them upgrade( still have to wait and see if this is true).

21. gadgeteer

Posts: 45; Member since: Sep 06, 2014

But iPhone declined by 16%, more than any other category. Others even declined by 11%, Samsung by 0.6%. OTOH the Chinese grew with Huawei leading the charge at 58%. Why a lot of people continue to treat Apple like some sacred cows is beyond me. The truth is that Apple is about to face the gravity that afflicted former Smartphone leaders. It's downhill from here - and not even iPhone 7 will salvage he decline. It's like fashion, Apple is out of fashion, has been. Like Obama.

12. TerryTerius unregistered

But you are right Apple is softening at an accelerated pace compared to everyone else. They're going through this year what Samsung did 2 years ago. It was kinda inevitable though.

10. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1382; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

"Apple has right now is market saturation and the fact that the S cycle just doesn't cut it anymore"...."People want iPhone 8 plain and simple!" The 8 has to have a compelling offering something that the 6s 6s Plus don't right now. Because both those devices are really good and anyone who has them right now really does not need to spend another $700.00 for a 7 that will offer a small change ( if that is the case we will have to wait and see) the 8 on the other hand if it brings into play tech that has been out for years like Curved Amoled display, IP68, expandable memory, QHD, 16 mp or higher low light camera, IR blaster,etc.. will just be on Par with all the 2014 - 16 offerings which again wont be a very compelling upgrade option especially if Apple charges a premium price for this old tech. However, Lets take a wait and see approach as these are all really rumors and not confirmed yet. We really don't know what the 7 will bring.

24. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The problem is the hardware is behind everyone else and people are choosing cheaper and equal or better alternative. If you claim was true, then why is it, Apple lost over 10M sales YOY while Samsung lost 500,000 sales YOY. Apple only caters to rich and stupid, while Samsung caters to them plus upcoming markets with cheaper phones. A sale is a sale and there is no law that says you shouldn't provide a product to people less fortunate. Apple is blowing a chance to sell products to a near untapped market. This is the same reason why the Mac never made any major sales milestones. They refused to cater to the Enterprise and Microsoft did and Microsoft with Windows basically killed Apple. Sure there is market saturation in some markets, but not all. Theer always and excuse for Apple. If this was Samsung with the same loss, you would have claimed no one wants Samsung sh!tty products. But wont admit Apple makes sh!tty products. I don't mean that in a terrible way, I mean in a bad way. Selling 3 year old hardware at premium new hardware prices. Apple did that with the Mac too. I remember when I bought my first MacBook it had C2D for $1500, while my HP Envy with Sandy Bridge was $1200. C2D was a 5+ year old platform that Apple was trying to sell as new. That ridiculous. Even after we got Ivy Bridge, Apple was still sellign C2D models and only a few Sandy Bridge model. How can you with all this only be so far behind other OEM's? Because they do it on purpose because they know consumers have no idea what they are buying.

30. TerryTerius unregistered

You don't seem to understand basic economics. The reason Apple sells considerably less phones than Samsung but makes far more money is because they have healthier profit margins, so they make more per device sold. Apple's ASP's are far higher than Samsung's. So even with Samsung outselling Apple 2:1, they're simply not making the same money. The more you go down range, the more units you need to sell in order to make a profit. Apple has no desire to play in that arena. They're basically doing the same thing that Porsche does. There's a reason Porsche makes more per car than any other automobile manufacturer. So no, a sale is not a sale. Far from it. That's not even close to being true. The disparity of impact is partially due to the fact that Apple exclusively sells in the upper price range, partially because people are holding onto their devices for longer, and partially because they are being affected by the industrywide slowdown. Apple is hitting an inevitability, they are going through what Samsung did a few years ago when the S5 came out. This was going to happen to them sooner or later. In many of the markets where there isn't high saturation, there is either extreme poverty, a lack of infrastructure, or both. Developed countries across the board (where the money is) are already flush with phones. But in many developing countries the average citizen simply doesn't have the disposable income to buy a flagship phone, and often not even an entry-level phone. We're talking about the average person making less than $500 USD a month, and many times far less than half of that. Apple is more concerned about profit then getting their devices in as many hands as possible, that is more Google's paradigm which wants its services in front of as many eyes as it can get. That's partially because Google and Apple function in completely different ways, but that's a whole different conversation altogether. You can delude yourself into believing literally every single one of the people using Apple products are idiots, or simply accept the fact that the majority are happy with the products they have because they suit their needs. You seem to believe that because you have a certain set of priorities, every other person on earth should share them. That simply isn't true. I do wish that Apple would push the envelope more, but they've always been a conservative company. Expecting otherwise simply isn't going to happen. For the record, I have a galaxy S7 Edge as a personal phone and an iPhone 6s Plus as a work line. I've owned devices from Samsung, Apple, Nokia, HTC, LG and Dell over the past three years. I have nothing against anyone.

16. killer7D

Posts: 551; Member since: Sep 18, 2014

If Apple will maintain a similar design in the iPhone 7 .. Then i can tell.. May Apple Rest in Piece :/

23. gadgeteer

Posts: 45; Member since: Sep 06, 2014

No matter what they do, IRS over. It happened to Moto and Nokia, Apple will not be exempt. They are done

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