Samsung Electronics further widened the gap with runner-up Apple in terms of smartphone sales in the first quarter.
According to research firm Gartner, Samsung’s smartphone sales were slightly up at 81.2 million units in the first three months of the year, making it the world’s largest smartphone-maker and earning it 23.2 percent market share.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Its archrival Apple sold 51.6 million smartphones, which compared to 60.2 million iPhones sold in the same period a year ago. Its market share was down from 17.9 percent to 14.7 percent.
With Apple’s iPhone 7 launch planned in September, Samsung could elevate smartphone sales by advancing the launch of its flagship Galaxy S7 and its Edge variant a month earlier than usual.
Despite the overall growth of smartphone sales globally, the top two makers saw their market shares fall, while their Chinese rivals continued expanding their presence.
Gartner found that three Chinese brands -- Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo -- earned a combined 17 percent market share in the first quarter.
Huawei’s sales soared from 18.1 million units to nearly 29 million over the past year. Oppo, another fast-emerging Chinese brand, sold 16.1 million smartphones, more than doubling its market share to 4.6 percent.
“In a slowing smartphone market where large vendors are experiencing growth saturation, emerging brands are disrupting existing brands’ long-standing business models to increase their share,” Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner.
“With such changing smartphone market dynamics, Chinese brands are emerging as the new top global brands.”
In order to win over more royal customers and increase device sales in the longer-term, especially in the all-important Chinese market, handset-makers are pinning high hopes on mobile payments services.
Samsung has recently teamed up with Alibaba to allow Samsung Pay users to choose Alipay as one of their payment methods. Currently, some 450 million people use Alipay in China alone.
By Lee Ji-yoon (email@example.com