Samsung Electronics maintained its position of the number one phone seller on the planet in 2016, according to the latest market report conducted by Strategy Analytics, as reported by the Yonhap News Agency. The South Korean tech giant reportedly sold 308.5 million Galaxy-branded smartphones over the course last year, significantly more than both Apple and Huawei who came in second and third, respectively. During the same period, Apple sold approximately 215.5 million iPhones, while Huawei managed to sell around 72.2 million Honor smartphones and 65.7 million Ascend-branded phones. Xiaomi was the fifth most successful phone vendor in 2016 as the Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer sold over 46 million units last year, the report reveals. Xiaomi was followed by OPPO and Vivo who sold 38.4 million and 33.7 million phones in 2016, respectively.
The report also reiterated some information that was unveiled in early February as it uncovered additional evidence that Chinese original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are gradually increasing the average selling price (ASP) of their devices. They're doing so by manufacturing a larger number of premium devices and industry watchers believe that decision makes perfect sense seeing how the only way Chinese OEMs can catch up with Samsung and Apple is to improve their high-end lineups. Focusing on flagship devices is also a sensible business choice in general seeing how premium smartphones are also directly linked with premium profit margins, which is why Apple is by far the most profitable phone maker in the industry. Last year, the Cupertino-based consumer electronics manufacturer recorded $44.9 billion in operating profit which amounts to almost four-fifths of total smartphone profits worldwide, the report revealed. While the high-end phone market is extremely competitive, that's where OEMs stand to make the most money which is why they're willing to commit more resources to developing flagship devices, industry sources say.
Regardless, as things stand right now, it's unlikely that Huawei will be able to overtake either Apple or Samsung over the course of this year. However, the Chinese tech giant is still on course to become an even bigger player in the industry than it already is, analysts believe. Overall, the high-end smartphone market will apparently become even more competitive over the course of this year.