Apple’s dominance of the smartphone market continues to grow after the firm became the biggest vendor in China for the first time, overtaking rivals such as Samsung and Xiaomi.
Data from Gartner found that total smartphone sales to end users hit 336 million units in the first quarter of 2015, up from 281 million in the same period last year. Emerging markets were the fastest areas for growth.
China represented the most notable segment of the market, and Apple enjoyed a whopping 72.5 percent rise in sales in the country driven by the success of the large-screen iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones.
Overall Apple sold 60 million iPhones to end users in the quarter globally, up from 43 million in the same period last year, underlining just how successful the new phones have proved with buyers.
Conversely, Samsung saw sales of its devices fall slightly, from 85 million in the same period last year to 81 million in Q1 2015. However, the firm is still the largest seller, with a 24 percent market share. Apple has 17.9 percent.
Third position in the market is given to Lenovo with a 5.6 percent market share, while LG took fourth place with 4.6 percent. The absence of HTC and Sony from the top spots is also notable, as both firms struggled to make headway in the market.
Anshul Gupta, research analyst at Gartner, told V3 it was clear that there had been pent-up demand in China for the larger screen iPhones.
"Large screen phones are being sold most in Asia-Pacific regions where people are using their phones most, compared to more mature markets, so there was clearly demand for a larger-screen phone form Apple," he said.
"China is not the world’s biggest market and Apple has spent a lot of time investing there, building its distribution channel and investing in its Apple Stores to build presence, and this has paid off."
The situation for Microsoft is far less clear, however. The firm's overall sales of smartphones actually fell year on year, from 49 million in 2014 to just 33 million in 2015, despite ongoing investment in its mobile division.
Gupta said it was clear that buyers are not sold on the Windows operating system for phones, and that its ecosystem is still not appealing to developers.
He added that the Windows 10 launch may change this if people take to the idea of cross-platform compatibility.
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