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New smartphone king: Apple edges out Samsung with stellar iPhone sales

According to Gartner’s latest figures, Apple is now the biggest smartphone vendor in the world, edging out Samsung in the analyst house’s stats for Q4 in 2014. (This isn’t the first report we’ve heard to this effect, either).

Gartner reckons that Apple shifted 74.8 million iPhones in the final quarter of last year, with Samsung falling behind on 73 million. It means Apple has a 0.5 per cent market share lead on Samsung now (20.4 per cent versus 19.9 per cent).

It’s a marked contrast to the same quarter in 2013, when Apple shifted 50.2 million units, way behind Samsung which flogged 83.3 million phones globally. Apple’s numbers have gone up almost 50 per cent year-on-year, with Samsung dropping by 12 per cent.

In third place was Lenovo (including Motorola) on 24.3 million units, followed fairly closely by Huawei on 21 million, and Xiaomi on 18.6 million. The likes of LG and HTC have now been edged into Gartner’s “other” category, with remaining vendors shifting 155 million units – for a total of 367 million phones sold in the quarter.

Total smartphone sales for 2014 were 1.24 billion, and of course Samsung took the majority of that still, as Apple edging the company out is a new development.

Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, observed: "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."

Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, added: "With Apple dominating the premium phone market and the Chinese vendors increasingly offering quality hardware at lower prices, it is through a solid ecosystem of apps, content and services unique to Samsung devices that Samsung can secure more loyalty and longer-term differentiation at the high end of the market.”

As for OS share, naturally Android held sway in 2014 with an 80.7 per cent market share, with iOS on 15.4 per cent, Windows Phone on 2.8 per cent, and BlackBerry fizzling on 0.6 per cent.

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.