Apple surpassed Samsung to become the top smartphone brand in the fourth quarter of 2017 as it shipped 77.3 million iPhones globally, a report said on Friday.
Samsung which shipped 74.4 million devices in the quarter, led the smartphone market (by volume) with a market share of 21 per cent for the entire year.
"Apple shipments declined one per cent annually, however, the company became the number one smartphone brand during the quarter. Apple remained number two in CY 2017, capturing 14 per cent market share," market research firm Counterpoint Research said.
The global smartphone shipments grew two per cent annually in 2017 but declined five per cent in the fourth quarter.
The top 10 players, including Apple, Samsung, Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi, now capture 77 per cent of the market, thereby leaving just below a quarter of the segment for over 600 brands to compete.
Samsung shipments declined 11 per cent due to a decline in India, China and Western Europe. The company led the Latin American market.
"The quarter was a week shorter than last year and Apple was able to increase Average Selling Prices (ASPs) by over $100 to $796 with the launch of the iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus -- a trade-off the company is content to make," said Jeff Fieldhack, Research Director at Counterpoint Research.
"The challenge for Apple going forward will be its ability to continue to grow its base of 1.3 billion devices," he added.
Chinese brands Xiaomi, Vivo, OPPO and Huawei remained the fastest growing smartphone brands.
Xiaomi shipped 96 million smartphones, capturing 6.1 per cent market share of the global smartphone market in 2017.
The company became the fifth largest smartphone brand behind Huawei and OPPO in the fourth quarter 2017 with shipments of 31 million smartphones and a market share of 6.9 per cent , recording a growth of 83 per cent annually.