Tech giant Apple has toppled Korean electronics' major Samsung to become the numero uno player in the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2016, shipping 78.3 million iPhones, according to research firm Counterpoint.
"Apple had a record quarter shipping 78.3 million iPhones in all important holiday season, surpassing Samsung (78 million) in overall smartphone market share," it said.
Apple had a market share of 17.8 per cent, while Samsung had 17.7 per cent share in the October-December 2016 quarter.
Huawei, Oppo and vivo followed in the tally with market share of 10.2 per cent, 6.9 per cent and 4.8 per cent, respectively.
For the whole 2016 year, Samsung, however, continued to led the smartphone market with a market share of 21 per cent. Its smartphone shipments declined 4 per cent year-on-year, registering 310 million units during the year.
Interestingly, the US, China and India alone contributed to almost 50 per cent of the total smartphone shipments in 2016.
Smartphone shipments reached 1,512 million units in CY 2016, of which 440 million units smartphones were shipped in the fourth quarter alone.
"The global smartphone market grew by a modest three per cent y-o-y in CY 2016 with major brands such as Apple and Samsung seeing an annual decline in growth," CounterPoint Research Research Analyst Shobhit Srivastava said.
He added that bulk of the growth was driven by three major Chinese brands -- Huawei, Oppo and vivo -- which combined grew a healthy 57 per cent y-o-y shipping more than 300 million units globally.
"2016 was the inflection point for LTE as a technology as it scaled down to lower price points (sub-USD 75). LTE adoption was much faster compared to any other previous cellular technologies as the total LTE smartphone demand crossed a billion units in 2016," Counterpoint Research Associate Director Tarun Pathak said.