The third quarter saw sales of as many as 373 million smartphones worldwide, compared to 354 million in the same quarter of last year. However, the two main smartphone giants, namely Samsung and Apple, saw their numbers fall in the period, giving way to new Chinese manufacturers who sold over 21% of all smartphones worldwide in the third quarter.
Apple's could sell only 43 million smartphones compared to 46 million a year before, but it's share in the market went down from 13% to 11.5% in the period, closing the gap between itself and Huawei, the largest Chinese phone maker who managed to sell over 32 million smartphones in Q3 compared to 27 million in Q3 of last year. Huawei has thus increased its share in the smartphone market by a full percentage point to 8.7 per cent.
Samsung may sell refurbished Note 7 handsets, but not in the UK
The biggest hit in terms of smartphone sales was felt by Samsung, who sold a little more than 71 million units in the last quarter, 12 million fewer than those sold in the same period of last year. Samsung's market share has also fallen from 23.6% to 19.2%, impacting the company's dominance significantly.
"Samsung had a good start to the quarter, but the battery problem that caused some Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to catch fire led to lower sales of the company's high-end and high-profile line of Note products. Samsung's smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2016 as a whole declined 14.2 percent year over year — their worst performance ever. Samsung's previous worst performance for smartphone sales was a 12.3 percent drop in the fourth quarter of 2014," said Gartner in a press release.
"The decision to withdraw the Galaxy Note 7 was correct, but the damage to Samsung's brand will make it harder for the company to increase its smartphone sales in the short term. For Samsung, it's crucial that the Galaxy S8 launches successfully, so that partners and customers regain trust in its brand," said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner.
Only Apple made profits from selling phones in Q3
While it wasn't the best for Samsung or Apple, the third quarter was a wonderful one for Chinese smartphone makers. While Huawei continues to slowly claw its way upwards, the surprise of the quarter was Oppo who sold nearly 25 million units compared to 12 million units worldwide last year, thereby doubling it's market share from 3.4% to 6.7% in the period. However, given that Oppo sold 81% of its phones in China alone, it is yet to boast a global footprint like the others in the top five. Yet another Chinese company named BBK Communication Equipment sold nearly 20 million units in Q3 but almost 90% of its sales took place in China.
In terms of market share of operating systems, Android phones numbered 327 million in Q3 compared to 43 million for iOS, 1.5 million for Windows and less than 400,000 for BlackBerry. As such, Android continues to enjoy a healthy market share of 84.7% and it looks like this will continue for the next few years.