Apple Trails Samsung in Smartphone Market—And Won’t Catch Up in 2018

February 13, 2018, 4:35 PM UTC

Apple might make billions on the sale of its smartphones every year, but Samsung still reigns supreme in sales.

Samsung ended 2017 with 21.9% market share in the worldwide smartphone market, according to new data released on Tuesday by researcher TrendForce. Samsung shipped more than 310 million units during the period, according to TrendForce. That was enough to top Apple’s iPhone, which secured 15.2% market share in 2017. TrendForce didn’t say how many units Apple shipped, but the company’s own sales data over the last four fiscal quarters shows iPhone sales in excess of 215 million units.

To be clear, Apple is fighting a tough battle. Samsung sells a variety of smartphones that span all budget levels, including the high-end Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8, as well as cheaper devices like the Galaxy J. Apple only sells iPhones, though the company has expanded its product line to appeal to a variety of budgets. The iPhone X, for instance, is its flagship model. But the iPhone SE appeals to those on a budget.

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Beyond Apple and Samsung, the TrendForce data clearly shows that Chinese handset makers are coming on strong. After Apple, Huawei and Oppo, two Chinese manufacturers, secured 10.8% and 7.6% market share, respectively, according to TrendForce. Vivo and Xiaomi rounded out the top six with market shares of 6.6% and 6.4%, respectively.

Looking ahead, TrendForce predicted that Apple will steal some market share, thanks to an expectation this year of improved handsets and expansion into India, which will provide the company with a larger consumer base to target.

Samsung, meanwhile, could have some trouble in 2018. TrendForce predicts that Samsung’s shipments will drop by 5% in 2018, pushing its market share to 20.3%. Samsung will continue to perform well on the budget side of the market, but could get hit at the higher end where competition is fierce, TrendForce said.

Still, with 300 million unit shipments in 2018, Samsung will remain the smartphone market leader.

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