Samsung has again sold more phones than Apple worldwide, this time in the final quarter of 2015.
Samsung shipped 81.3 million phones during the quarter, compared to the 74.8 million shipped by Apple, according to the research firm Strategy Analytics.
Shipments of Samsung phones increased 9% over the same quarter a year ago, while Apple's shipments grew just 0.4%.
"This was Samsung’s fastest growth rate for almost two years and it helped Samsung to stay ahead of Apple and maintain first position with 20% share for the quarter and 22% share for the full year," wrote Strategy Analytics' Linda Sui in a blog post Thursday.
In some ways it's not a very meaningful comparison. Samsung sells phones for pretty much every budget, while Apple sells mainly premium-priced phones. The Strategy Analytics research does not cover how much the companies profited from selling the phones.
Total smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter grew just 6% to 404.5 million units from 380.1 million units in Q4 2014. Strategy Analytics says that represents the smartphone industry’s slowest year-over-year growth rate of all time.
Global smartphone shipments in full-year 2015 grew 12% to 1.44 billion from the 1.28 billion sold worldwide in 2014. However, analysts fear that poor worldwide economic conditions and smartphone saturation of key growth markets like China might significantly slow down smartphone sales growth in 2016.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said as much on a conference call with investors Tuesday, saying that he expected a slowdown in iPhone sales in the calendar first quarter of 2016. Anxieties over "peak iPhone," among other things, have pushed down Apple's stock price roughly 28% since last April.
Lee Kyeong Tae, VP of Samsung's mobile business, told investors: "The overall smartphone market will remain difficult throughout this year but we still see growth in the lower-end segment, although competition will be tougher." Samsung, too, is pessimistic about future smartphone sales, projecting just single-digit growth in 2016.