With 78 million iPhones sold, Apple achieves record quarter results and beats Samsung

Thanks to some missteps by Samsung, Apple also managed to beat the Korean tech giant in smartphone sales.

It's a new year, and while everyone's off to a slow start, Apple just announced another record breaking quarter. Apple announced its financial results for its fiscal 2017 first quarter which ended on 31 December, 2016. Contrary to what many expected, Apple posted an all-time record quarterly revenue of $78.4 billion which is up from $75.9 billion in the year ago quarter.

The Cupertino tech giant sold a staggering 78.29 million iPhones in the fiscal quarter, which is up from 74.78 million of the previous year. As per Reuters, Apple also beat Samsung Electronics' smartphone sales which ended at 77.5 million. According to data firm Strategy Analytics, this win over Samsung comes after a rather lengthy gap, back in 2011.

“We’re thrilled to report that our holiday quarter results generated Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever, and broke multiple records along the way. We sold more iPhones than ever before and set all-time revenue records for iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

Apple all the way

Apple's services did well too as you can see from the summary provided below.

 With 78 million iPhones sold, Apple achieves record quarter results and beats Samsung

Units in thousands, Revenue in millions

According to research firm Counterpoint, Apple captured a record share of premium smartphone segment which in a way has also widened the gap with Samsung and that too by a large margin.

While Apple started off 2016 with a slow start, it was the iPhone 7 that catapulted its global smartphone sell-through sales from a low point of 47 percent to its highest at 70 percent.

Image: Counterpoint

Image: Counterpoint

Jeff Fieldhack, Research Director at Counterpoint Research said, “During the first eight months of 2016, Apple saw its smartphone market share remain at a record low compared to the last few years. However, the iPhone 7 series launch has been able to offset most of the previous decline. The iPhone 7 series demand was healthy through the holiday period, especially in markets such as USA, Western Europe and Japan somewhat offsetting a softer than expected performance in China. Apple surpassed Samsung in December 2016 capturing a 19 percent share of the global smartphone sell-through volumes."

"Furthermore, Apple’s share of the $400+ segment crossed the 70 percent mark in December 2016 from a low point of 47 percent in May 2016, which is commendable considering the premium segment growth has been flat annually. A healthy sell-through of iPhones in the channel points toward a strong holiday quarter from a shipments perspective and strong wholesale ASP as the mix shifted towards higher capacity and larger screen iPhone models. In markets, such as the USA, Apple’s share in the premium segment has reached close to a record 80 percent in this peak season,” said Fieldhack.

Hello Huawei

While Apple's market share gained towards the end of the year, Samsung lost ground and in all probability, its Galaxy Note 7 was to blame. The phablet smartphone which started catching fire, not once but twice, was enough to make enough room for Chinese smartphone giant Huawei to grow.

Image: Counterpoint

Image: Counterpoint

Tina Lu, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research added, “Huawei has been the rising star and December 2016 was also the first-time Huawei crossed the 10 percent share mark globally. Huawei has also for the first-time been on par with Apple in terms of sell-through volumes in couple of months during 2016. This is a significant feat for the Chinese brand."

All of these reports come shortly after Counterpoint's first claim about Apple leading the premium smartphone market in India for the Q4 2016.

“Apple achieved a landmark, crossing 2.5 million units in a calendar year, with a 1/3 of its total shipment coming alone from the record fourth quarter driven by seasonality and the launch of iPhone 7,” Counterpoint said in its report.

Apple Vs Samsung

So the Apple Vs Samsung battle seems to continue with Huawei creeping up from behind in third place. Indeed there could  be variety of reasons for the Apple's success with the iPhone 7 which could include carrier exchange programs (easy upgrades to a newer model), Apple's own iPhone Trade-up program and plenty more. Combine all of these with strong holiday year end sales and holidays indeed seems to have made for Apple's saving grace this year which also comes in part thanks to Samsung's troubled Note 7 phablet.

An employee checks an exchanged Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Note 7 at company's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. REUTERS

An employee checks an exchanged Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Note 7 at company's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. REUTERS

As for Samsung it would be easy say that the Note 7 fiasco could have lead to dent in numbers which would have other wise been enough to trump Apple even in this quarter. The Samsung Note 7 was well-received by the media but had to be recalled because of battery related issues after being sold in certain markets. Out here in India, Samsung's Note 7 did not make it to store shelves. Samsung recently revealed the results of its investigation and it was the fault design and manufacturing defects of the battery which turned out to be a culprit.

However, it is wise to keep in mind that Apple currently only has 5 models of its iPhone up for sale (iPhone 7, 6s, 5SE) in comparison to the barrage of smartphones that Samsung and Huawei have across a number of smartphone segments which helps them get these numbers year after year.

Apple is expected to announce a third smartphone this year to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its iPhone.

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.