According to latest data from IDC, Apple closed out the holiday quarter by surpassing Samsung for the top spot in the smartphone industry. The company shipped 78.3 million units in the fourth quarter, up 4.7% from the same quarter one year ago. However, despite a strong fourth quarter, 2016 marked the first full year of declining shipments for the iPhone with a 7% year-over-year drop.

Smartphone vendors shipped a total of 428.5 million units during the fourth quarter of 2016 (4Q16), resulting in 6.9% growth, when compared to the 400.7 million units shipped in the final quarter of 2015, according to IDC. For the full year, the worldwide smartphone market saw a total of 1.47 billion units shipped, marking the highest year of shipments on record, yet up only 2.3% from the 1.44 billion units shipped in 2015.

Large markets like China, the United States, and Brazil all ended the year on a strong note. Emerging regions like the Middle East and Latin America witnessed year-over-year declines where high growth was expected. Huawei cracked the double-digit share mark for the first time ever.

Despite the changes that 2016 brought upon the market, including annual growth dropping from 10.4% in 2015 to just 2.3% in 2016, IDC expects a few turnarounds in 2017. First, IDC is forecasting a rebound in iPhone shipments with the yet to be announced tenth anniversary iPhone. Second, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) and Latin America regions are expected to return to growth in 2017. And, as a result of the aforementioned as well as several other driving factors, growth in 2017 should improve slightly from 2016’s results.

[Image courtesy: Apple]