A report for Q1 2017 smartphone sales shows that Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) run as the world’s top smartphone vendor by sales was short-lived.
Rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) regained the crown, capturing 26.1% of global smartphone sales for the quarter, compared to Apple iPhone sales that hit just 16.9%.
Samsung Regains Top Smartphone Vendor Crown
Samsung held the crown as the world’s top smartphone vendor for a long time, after taking it from Nokia Corp (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) in 2012. But late last year, in a perfect storm of factors, iPhone sales edged out Samsung, making Apple No. 1. Samsung was suffering from the PR nightmare of the Galaxy Note 7 disaster, while Apple had just launched the iPhone 7. The result was a one-tenth of a percent lead for AAPL for Q4 2016, enough of a margin to give it the global top spot and dethrone Samsung.
However, it appears that Apple hasn’t been able to hold onto bragging rights for long.
TrendForce just released its smartphone sales numbers for Q1 2017. The report shows Apple’s iPhone sales have declined, while Samsung sales are up considerably. As a result, Samsung has firmly regained the top spot, with 26.1% of global smartphone sales compared to Apple’s 16.9%.
Some Good News for Apple
Losing the top smartphone sales crown is a disappointment. But really, that’s just bragging rights. There was some good news for Apple despite Samsung’s return to form.
Samsung’s numbers — as always — includes a huge range of phones, including inexpensive and mid-range devices. Those mass market, economically priced phones were credited by TrendForce for Samsung’s rebound. And they don’t compete with the iPhone. TrendForce says sales of its flagship smartphones remained lower than usual.
And compared to this time last year, AAPL’s market share is up. TrendForce pegged iPhone sales at 14.4% of the global total one year ago.
On the bad side of the equation, in addition to Samsung regaining the crown, the numbers for Q1 don’t include any sales for the new Galaxy S8. Samsung’s comeback flagship smartphone is expected to bring in some big sales numbers.
Apple Looks to the iPhone 8 to Win Back the Crown
While it seems unlikely that AAPL would catch Samsung again — it has to overcome the Galaxy S8 and all those cheap Android smartphones after all — it’s possible that we could see Apple take the crown again this time next year. How would that work?
Measures like the (PROJECT)RED special edition iPhone 7 aren’t likely to do much more that keep iPhone sales coasting for the next six months, especially against the Galaxy S8. However, AAPL has an ace up its sleeve. The iPhone 8 is due in September. It’s the tenth anniversary iPhone, expected to be packed full of advanced features and technology, with an all-new (and ultra-premium) design.
With pent-up demand from iPhone owners who haven’t seen the need to upgrade since the iPhone 6, the 10th anniversary iPhone 10 is expected to do monster numbers. Despite its rumored $1,000-plus price tag.
If Apple sees the expected iPhone sales from the iPhone 8 (and it also will be releasing an iPhone 7S), it could catch Samsung once again and take back the crown in Q4 2017.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.