Samsung Still No. 1 Smartphone Vendor, Despite Note 7 Debacle

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Smartphone shipments grew 6 percent in the latest quarter as Samsung maintained its position at the top of the market despite that little exploding phone debacle, according to new research from Strategy Analytics.

The research firm on Thursday reported that smartphone makers around the world peddled 375.4 million units in the third quarter of 2016, up from 354.2 million units a year earlier.

"This was the smartphone industry's fastest growth rate for a year," Strategy Analytics Director Linda Sui said in a statement. "As expected, the global smartphone market reached a bottom in the first half of 2016, and the growth outlook for the second half of this year is improving due to several big new product launches from Apple, Huawei, and others."

Samsung held on to its No. 1 position, but didn't exactly have a stellar quarter. The Note 7 maker shipped 75.3 million smartphones worldwide, down 10 percent from 83.8 million units in the third quarter of 2015. In the past year, the company's smartphone market share dropped from 24 percent to 20 percent.

"This was Samsung's slowest growth rate for almost two years," Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston said in a statement. "Samsung's recent Galaxy Note 7 recall was handled badly, which dented its brand image and left a large product gap in its premium smartphone lineup. Samsung will now be looking to its next flagship launch, such as the rumored Galaxy S8 model, to recover momentum in 2017."

Apple also had a "lackluster" quarter, shipping 45.5 million smartphones worldwide. Cupertino's market share has also dropped in the past year — from 14 percent to 12 percent.

"Apple has been given a slight boost by Samsung's Note 7 missteps, but it continues to face iPhone fatigue among many consumers in major regions such as China and Europe," Mawston said.

Three Chinese brands rounded out the top five — Huawei came in third, followed by Oppo and Vivo. Facing increased competition from Chinese rivals, Huawei's smartphone growth rate more than halved, to 26 percent from 62 percent a year ago.

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