Apple took over the crown of Samsung as the king of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the report from Gartner, an information technology research and advisory company.
During the fourth quarter, Gartner reported that the number of smartphones sold increased almost 30% to 367.5 million units globally. For the year 2014, the industry sold around 1.2 billion smartphones to consumers, an increase of 28% from 2013.
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Apple sales performance beats Samsung
According to the report, Apple captured 20.4% share in the smartphone market after selling more than 74.8 million iPhones during the fourth quarter. In the same period in 2013, the iPhone maker’s market share was 17.8%.
Roberta Cozza, a research director at Gartner noted that Apple dominated the premium smartphone market during the quarter.
The research firm observed that Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus continued to enjoy huge demand in China and the United States, growing 56% and 88%, respectively. Both iPhones became strong alternatives to Android devices.
On the other hand, Samsung’s market share was 19.9% after selling more than 73 million smartphones during the period. The South Korean electronics manufacturer suffered a 9.6% decline in market share from 29.5% in the year-ago quarter.
Gartner’s principal research analyst, Anshul Gupta commented that the sales performance of Samsung in the smartphone market “deteriorated further” during the period.
According to him, “Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013. This downward trend shows that Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure.”
Cozza also commented that Samsung “can secure more loyalty and longer-term differentiation at the high end of the market” by offering a solid ecosystem of apps, content and services that are unique to its devices.
Chinese vendors increasingly offering high-end smartphones
In addition, she observed that Chinese vendors such as Huawei and Xiammi are increasingly offering high quality devices at lower prices.
“They are producing higher quality devices with appealing new hardware features that can rival the more established players in the mobile phone market. Brand building and marketing will be key activities in deciding which Chinese vendors can secure a foothold in mature markets,” said Cozza.