Apple Jumps Ahead of Samsung to Become Top-Selling Smartphone Manufacturer in Q4 2019

Thanks to an excellent fourth quarter, Apple leaped ahead of Samsung to become the top-selling smartphone manufacturer in Q4 2019, according to Strategy Analytics.

iPhone 11 sales lifted Apple to its best quarter ever, as it grabbed 18.9 percent of the market, besting Samsung by a half percent, reads the report (via CNET). Overall, Apple shipped seven percent more smartphones in the fourth quarter than it did in Q4 2018.

“Apple is recovering, due to cheaper iPhone 11 pricing and healthier demand in Asia and North America,” Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston said. His firm said Apple became the world’s top smartphone vender in the December quarter, shipping an estimated 70.7 million handsets versus Samsung’s 68.8 million. Apple no longer details unit sales, but it said overall iPhone revenue climbed 7.6 percent to $55.96 billion USD.

Samsung, by contrast, saw Q4 profits tumble (largely due to chips), with overall smartphone sales dropping slightly year over year. However, the Korean company said that mobile revenue actually increased by seven percent over last year, though not nearly enough to offset falling chips sales.

Despite Apple’s holiday surge, Samsung sold just as many smartphones in the fourth quarter as did the iPhone maker. Both firms are estimated to have sold about 70 million units in the quarter.

“Quarterly earnings improved significantly for the Mobile Business in annual terms, thanks to solid sales of flagship Galaxy smartphones and lineup changes to improve profitability for mass-market models,” Samsung noted in a press release. “Profit fell from the previous quarter, however, due to the fading effect from a new flagship product launch.”

Overall, smartphone sales were slightly down in 2019 (2.2 percent compared to 2018), despite a boost in the third quarter. That dragged most manufacturers down for the year, including Apple and LG (which fell a whopping 23.3 percent). Xiaomi, however, managed to grow smartphone sales by a very respectable 4.5 percent.