Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the king of year over year growth. Just when everybody thinks the company is going to slow down, it beats expectations and keeps rolling. This isn’t to say that Cupertino is immune to a fall off, as we have seen with its stock over the past couple months, but in terms of product sales it very rarely misses point.
Thank the Holiday Season, Apple
With a strong holiday quarter, worldwide smartphone volumes reached new levels in 2015. According to the research firm IDC, smartphone vendors shipped 399.5 million units during the fourth quarter of 2015.
When compared to the 377.8 million units shipped in the fourth quarter of 2014, this works out to 5.7 percent growth.
Before we discuss where Apple fits into this equation, let’s take a closer look at what Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, thinks about the growth:
“Usually the conversation in the smartphone market revolves around Samsung and Apple, but Huawei’s strong showing for both the quarter and the year speak to how much it has grown as an international brand.”
Does this mean Apple is in trouble? Hardly.
The iPhone maker continued its dominance at the top, thanks to a quarter in which it shipped 74.8 million units. This was a one percent increase from the 74.5 million units that were shipped in the previous year.
Market Share Matters Most
When you look at Apple’s numbers from the fourth quarter, you may not be impressed by the one percent growth. That’s because you are not looking at the big picture. You need to understand what Apple is doing in an overall sense.
Its 2015 total market share increased to 16.2 percent, up from 14.8 percent the previous year. Furthermore, Apple is making up big ground in some key markets. For example, China shipments were up 18 percent. And even better yet, the company is making a big push in emerging markets, with India, for instance, experiencing growth of 76 percent.
But the Competition Keeps Coming
Despite the fact that Apple has a nice chunk of the market, trailing only Samsung for the top position, other competitors continue to push hard.
Anthony Scarsella, Research Manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, made it clear that competing vendors need to bring value to consumers if they want to compete. He said:
“To combat Apple at the high-end, competing vendors will need to bring value to consumers to stay relevant in the market. With heavy saturation in many mature smartphone markets such as the U.S., Europe, and China, many vendors have placed a renewed focus on pushing premium-looking mid-tier devices as a new value proposition to consumers in both developed and emerging markets.”
With year over year growth, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has proven once again that it has what it takes to keep its spot among the leaders of the smartphone market.
Do you think 2016 is the year Cupertino will finally takeover the top spot, leaving Samsung behind?