Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users reached 336 million units, an increase of 19.3 per cent during the first quarter of 2015, according to a new report published by Gartner. Apple continued to exhibit a strong performance in the quarter, particularly in China. Sales for the iPhone were up 72.5 percent during the first quarter of 2015, making Apple the No. 1 smartphone vendor in China — just ahead of Xiaomi — for the first time. Greater China also became Apple's largest volume market, ahead of North America, thanks to strong sales in China during the first quarter of 2015.
Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner stated that "Apple's extension into more Asian markets helped it close the gap with Samsung globally. In the same period last year, there was a difference of more than 40 million units with Samsung; this difference has been halved, within one year, to just over 20 million units."
Amongst the top five global smartphone vendors, Samsung continued to see a decline in sales and share during the first quarter of 2015 (see Table 1 below).
In the smartphone operating system (OS) market, Android's share fell by 1.9 percentage points, while iOS grew year-on-year for the third consecutive quarter. "Strong iPhone sales in China during the first quarter of 2015 had an impact on Android's performance in that country. Android's volumes fell by 4 percent year-on-year in China for the first time," said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.
According to Gartner's report, last month's smartphone growth was led by strong smartphone sales in emerging markets (excluding China). The fastest growing regions were emerging Asia/Pacific, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa. Due to these high-performing regions, the emerging markets achieved a 40 percent increase in sales during the first quarter of 2015.
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