Apple edges Samsung to the handset top spot in slowing market

A slower than expected 2017 holiday quarter closed out 2017 bringing minimal change to the worldwide smartphone market year-on-year according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

Samsung had been leading the charge in terms of sales since the beginning of 2017, but IDC’s latest figures indicate that Apple claimed the top spot thanks to sales of its iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X, (which hit the shelves during the fourth quarter of 2017).

  • Smartphone vendors shipped a total of 403.5 million units during the fourth quarter of 2017 , resulting in a 6.3% decline when compared to the 430.7 million units shipped in the final quarter of 2016
  • Apple only just nudged Samsung into second place in the last quarter of 2017 as it sold 77.3 million iPhones compared to Samsung’s 74.1 million unit sales.
  • Developed markets such as China and the United States both witnessed a decline during the quarter as consumers appeared to be in no rush to upgrade to the newest generation of higher-priced flagship devices.

With ultra-high-end flagships all the rage in 2017, many of these new bezel-less wonders proved to be more of a luxury than a necessity among upgraders. Even though we have seen new full-screen displays, advanced biometrics, and improved artificial intelligence, the new and higher price points could be outweighing the benefits of having the latest and greatest device in hand.

Anthony Scarsella, research manager, Mobile Phones at IDC


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