Apple ties Samsung for the world’s top smartphone maker crown

iPhone 6 display color

Driven by phenomenal iPhone sales during the holiday quarter, Apple has now tied Samsung for the title of the world’s top smartphone maker. According to latest numbers from research firm Strategy Analytics relayed by Bloomberg, both companies sold about 74.5 million smartphones during the fourth quarter of last year.

Both companies took an equal 19.6 percent market share in the global market for smartphones. Motorola owner Lenovo was a distant third with a 6.5 percent share, followed by Chinese vendor Huawei, which took a 5.7 percent share. Lenovo and Huawei shipper about 24 million smartphones each.

Windows Phone, BlackBerry and hundreds of white-label vendors and makers of no-name phones and knock-off devices are collectively listed under the ‘Other’ category, which accounted for 40.6 percent of the market, or about 182 million units.

Strategy Analytics estimates that smartphone shipments increased to 380.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, totaling an astounding 1.3 billion units for the whole year.

Check out global smartphone vendor shipments in Q4 of 2014.

Startegy Analytics Q42014 global smartphone vendor shipments

And here’s how the global market share for smartphones looks like, as per Strategy Analytics estimates.

Startegy Analytics Q42014 global smartphone vendor market share

A few caveats.

Apple, of course, sells only top-tier phones that command a premium and reports actual unit sales in its earnings reports. The company reported 74.5 million iPhone sales for its fiscal 2015 first quarter ended December 27, 2014, a 46 percent annual increase in its biggest-ever quarter by 23.4 million units.

On the other hand, Samsung stopped reporting phone sales back in 2011 for competitive reasons. As Strategy Analytics lacked real sales numbers, they had to estimate Samsung’s shipments into the channel.

Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint sensor 001

Also, Samsung’s smartphones come in a wide range of form factors and price points. By contrast, Apple’s iPhone lineup is pretty streamlined and includes only four basic models: the iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Source: Strategy Analytics via Bloomberg