Apple overtook Samsung to regain the top position in the smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2017.

According to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, Apple recorded “a slight downturn from the previous holiday quarter”, with iPhone volumes reaching 77.3 million units sold. This marked a year-on-year decline of 1.3 per cent.

However, the volumes were still enough to push Apple past Samsung and back into first place in the smartphone market, largely because of the newly released iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X.

IDC said Apple is showing that having numerous models at various price points bodes well for bringing smartphone owners to its iOS operating system. The research found that despite demand for the new higher-priced iPhone X not being as strong as many had expected, the iPhone lineup appealed to a wider range of consumers in both emerging and developed markets.

Apple was second for the calendar year in 2017, shipping 215.8 million units. This was a rise of 0.2 per cent from the 215.4 million units shipped in 2016.

Samsung remained the overall leader in the worldwide smartphone market for 2017, despite Apple taking the lead in the fourth quarter. The company shipped 74.1 million units in Q4, which was a fall of 4.4 per cent from the 77.5 million units from last year.

Anthony Scarsella, research manager for mobile phones at IDC, said: “The latest flock of posh flagships may have had consumers hitting the pause button in the holiday quarter. With ultra-high-end flagships all the rage in 2017, many of these new bezel-less wonders proved to be more of a luxury than a necessity among upgraders.

“Even though we have seen new full-screen displays, advanced biometrics and improved artificial intelligence, the new and higher price points could be outweighing the benefits of having the latest and greatest device in hand.”

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