Bigger iPhones Help Apple Edge Samsung in Global Smartphone Sales

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An attendee demonstrates the new Apple Inc. iPhone 6 Plus after a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc. unveiled redesigned iPhones with bigger screens, overhauling its top-selling product in an event that gives the clearest sign yet of the company's product direction under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.

The bigger the better when it comes to smartphones. Huge fourth-quarter sales for Apple's large-screen iPhone 6 line helped the company over-take rival Samsung in the market for the first time since 2011, as reported by TechCrunch, from research done by Gartner. Apple sold 74.8 million iPhones in the final quarter of 2014, bringing its global share of smartphones up to 20.4 percent compared to 17.8 percent during the same period in 2013. With Apple surging, Samsung dropped to 19.9 percent from 29.5 percent, selling 73 million units in Q4 compared to 83 million in 2013.

Gartner reports that Apple's smartphone sales were up 49 percent in the fourth quarter, while Samsung fell 12 percent over the same period. "Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013," Anshul Gupta, research analyst at Gartner, said in a press release. "This downward trend shows that Samsung's share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure."

Overall there were 367.5 million smartphones sold worldwide during Q4. The top five was rounded out by Lenovo, with 24.3 million units and a 6.6 percent market share; Huawei, 21 million phones and 5.7 percent share; and Xiaomi's 18.5 million and 5.1 percent share. "Chinese vendors  (such as Huawei and Xiaomi) are no longer followers," Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, said. "They are producing higher quality devices with appealing new hardware features that can rival the more established players in the mobile phone market."


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