Guess who sold more phones than Apple? ... Samsung!

Samsung sold a mind-boggling 81 million phones in the first three months of the year, markedly increasing its market share and out selling Apple by two to one in the process.

In the same period, Apple managed to sell just 42 million iPhones but the decline in its sales was sharper than the overall decline compared to last year's Q4 figures.

According to research firm TrendForce, even though Samsung sold three million fewer phones that in Q4 of 2015, its market share in the same period grew from 21.4 per cent to 27.8 per cent. Overall smartphone sales globally declined from 400 million in Q4 of 2015 to just 291 million in Q1 of 2015.

The results are in! Samsung sold the most phones in 2015

Samsung's brilliant performance was spurred by its latest Galaxy S7 flagship phone, of which it sold 10 million units in March alone, according to Sammobile.

Chinese phone makers Huawei and Xiaomi continued their global rise with 27 million and 17 million smartphone sales respectively. In Q4 of 2015, they managed to sell 32.4 million and 18.2 million smartphones respectively.

While iPhone 6s and 6s Plus drove the bulk of Apple's sales in Q4 of 2015 when it sold 74.8 million iPhones, the marked decline in sales seems that Apple failed to capitalise on the popularity of the new iPhones. However, the fact that Apple's iPhone sales peak during the final quarter of every year is a usual phenomenon.

Android and iOS devices notched up 96 per cent of 2014 global sales

To curb further decline in sales, Apple recently launched the 4-inch iPhone SE which, Apple estimates, will the ideal iPhone for people who prefer smaller displays. If iPhone SE performs well, Apple will be able to post a turnaround in the second quarter. However, Avril Wu, TrendForce smartphone analyst, begs to differ.

“As the budget model, iPhone SE will support Apple’s overall shipments in the second quarter before the next major iPhone release. However, iPhone SE is going to face severe price competition from Chinese branded products in its target market, which is the mid-range device segment. This year’s iPhone SE shipments are projected to come in below 15 million units and they are unlikely to help turn around the weak annual shipment result for Apple,” he said.

Following the acquisition of Motorola, Lenovo sold 17 million smartphones globally and finished fourth in the table, followed closely by Xiaomi and LG. Following the launch of a number of mid-range phones as well as premium phones like the V10 and G5, LG sold over 15 million phones in Q1 and finished on sixth place.

Apart from Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo, other Chinese phone makers like TCL, Oppo and Vivo sold an impressive 34 million smartphones in Q1. Overall, the top five Chinese phone makers accounted for 95 million phone sales, beating Samsung by a good margin.

Despite Samsung's success, the fact that overall smartphone sales declined by over a hundred million units in Q1 is a worrying trend. With smartphone capabilities not increasing by leaps and bounds like they did a year or two ago, the industry seems to have stagnated and customers are holding themselves back until they come across devices good enough to warrant an upgrade. While Samsung answered their thoughts with the Galaxy 7, other manufacturers are yet to follow suit.

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