GARTNER: Samsung just had its worst quarter ever, while Huawei is catching up to Apple

Actors Henry Cavill and Scarlett Johansson in promo photo for Huawei P9 smartphone. (Source: Huawei)

Samsung’s fiery troubles with the Galaxy Note 7 has hammered the Korean conglomerate to its worst performing quarter ever, according to technology research firm Gartner.

Samsung copped a 14.2% loss in global smartphone market share for the third quarter of 2016, compared to the same period last year. That’s the worst ever for the company, according to Gartner’s records.

“The decision to withdraw the Galaxy Note 7 was correct, but the damage to Samsung’s brand will make it harder for the company to increase its smartphone sales in the short term,” said Gartner research director Anshul Gupta.

“For Samsung, it’s crucial that the Galaxy S8 launches successfully, so that partners and customers regain trust in its brand.”

In some consolation for Samsung, Apple’s iPhone sales also dropped in the third quarter, ending up with a 6.6% year-on-year drop. Apple’s current 11.5% hold on the market is the lowest since the first quarter of 2009.

“Apple’s sales fell by 8.5 percent in the U.S. and by 31 percent in China, two of its biggest markets. The iPhone 7 struggled to stimulate replacement sales,” said Gartner.

While the Big Two deal with flagging fortunes, the Chinese brands are going well, with the top three — Huawei, Oppo and BBK Communication Equipment — all recording increasing sales for the latest quarter.

Huawei is now less than three percentage points within Apple’s smartphone market share, with the Shenzhen-headquartered manufacturer making inroads into the premium end of the market.

“Highly competitive and feature-packed Honor devices maintained their sales momentum in markets around the world, with expansion into Europe and the US likely to help Huawei record another year of promising growth,” stated Gartner.

In the battle of the operating systems, Apple’s iOS saw its slice of the pie continue to shrink. Android now holds 88% of the market, with iOS’ 11.5% a distant second.

Gartner research director Roberta Cozza said the Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s eventual withdrawal from the market would have minimal benefit for Apple, and that other Android makers that have high-end models have the best opportunity to take advantage.

“The Note 7’s withdrawal also comes at a good time for Google in mature markets, where it’s Pixel and Pixel XL devices have started selling,” she said.

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