Samsung overtakes Apple to become world's top smartphone maker by volume: report
Samsung Electronics overtook Apple to recapture the title of world's top smartphone maker by volume in the first quarter of 2015, research firm Strategy Analytics said on Wednesday.
It said Samsung shipped 83.2 million smartphones worldwide and captured 24 per cent market share in the quarter, down from 31 per cent a year earlier but better than Apple's 18 per cent.
"Samsung continued to face challenges in Asia and elsewhere, but its global performance has stabilised sufficiently well this quarter to overtake Apple and recapture first position as the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume," Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston said in a statement.
Samsung's mobile devices division, which accounted for nearly 60 per cent of total profit last year, boosted its operating margin to 10.6 per cent in January-to-March, according to the company's final quarterly results released on Wednesday. That's the highest in three quarters. Analysts say Samsung's roll-out of new mid-range products with revamped designs in key markets such as India likely boosted sales.
Mobile earnings slumped 42 per cent last year due to intense competition in both the top and low-end segments. Samsung was forced to dump unsold inventory at steep discounts, pushing quarterly margins into the single digits for the first time since 2010.
Investors hope the new flagship Galaxy S6 smartphones that went on sale earlier this month will help the company's profits rebound from 2014. Samsung is expecting record shipments. In April-to-June, mobile margins may rise to 13.6 per cent with the shipment of 22 million Galaxy S6 phones, IBK Securities analyst Lee Seung-woo estimated.
This week, Apple posted its second record breaking quarter in a row, as strong sales in China propelled the US tech giant to revenues of US$58 billion.
China overtook the US as the largest market for iPhones in the world, with a 72 per cent increase in the number of smartphones sold, driven in large part by strong sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus over the lunar new year holiday period. In the same period last year, Apple sold 43.7 million iPhones.
Additional reporting by James Griffiths