Samsung Electronics was dethroned in the smartphone market in five years. There are concerns that Korean smartphone makers have been sandwiched between Apple and Chinese makers such as Apple and Huawei, Oppo and Vivo as the Korean smartphone giant suffered from lack of a strategic model in the second half of last year due to the discontinuation of the Galaxy Note 7 and other companies were in a hot pursuit of Samsung Electronics.
According to a report by Strategy Analytics, a US market research firm on February 1, Samsung Electronics posted a global smartphone market share of 17.7% in the fourth quarter of last year. This percentage was the lowest level in six years and lower than that of Apple (17.8%).
Samsung's smartphone sales amounted to 77.5 million units, down 5 percent from the same period of last year, while Apple sold 78.3 million units, up 5 percent from a year before. During this period, Apple's quarterly total sales hit a record high of US$ 78.4 billion.
Samsung Electronics lagged behind Apple in quarterly market shares for the first time in five years since the 4th quarter of 2011. Samsung Electronics's average selling price (ASP) of its smartphones stood at US$182, 1% lower than a year ago, and the ASP of Apple's iPhones edged up 0.6% to US$695. However, the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge sold 11.4 million units in the fourth quarter of last year. In 2016, Samsung Electronics sold 294 million units (20.8 % market share), surpassing Apple, which sold 215.4 million units (14.5 % market share).
Some experts say that now there is a limit to Apple’s growth. Despite selling the largest number of products (the iPhone 7) in the history of Apple, its sales growth has been slower than previous models and Apple has failed to find a next growth engine under dark clouds of smartphone market saturation. Two-thirds of Apple's sales come from the iPhone. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), even though Samsung Electronics recalled the Galaxy Note 7, sales of the iPhone have slightly risen."
Meanwhile, the three largest smartphone makers in China -- Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo –- grew in sales volume and market shares from the same period of last year. Huawei accounted for 10.2% with 44.2mn units while Oppo and Vivo sold 29.5 million units (6.7%) and 25.6 million units (5.8%), respectively. Their combined sales hit 100 million units, the highest ever. LG Electronics showed poor results. In the fourth quarter of last year, LG's smartphone sales totaled 14.1 million units, down 8% year on year. LG’s smartphones performed poorly particularly in Western Europe, Central and South America and Eastern Europe, sending LG’s share down to 3%, placing the company 9th in the world smartphone market.