While there had been speculation that Apple might pick up sales from Samsung after its disastrous Note 7 launch, with KGI estimating that Apple could pick up an additional 5-7M orders, this doesn’t appear to be the case. The latest numbers from Gartner suggest that it is Chinese brands that saw the benefit.

The September 2 recall of the Note 7 saw Samsung’s Q3 market share fall year-on-year from 23.6% to 19.2%, its worst performance ever, creating an opportunity for other brands to pick up the slack – but the iPhone didn’t manage to do so …

Gartner reports that the iPhone actually saw a year-on-year fall in its own market share, from 13% to 11.5% in the same period, despite the smartphone market as a whole growing by 5.4%.

Apple’s iPhone sales continued to fall in the third quarter of 2016, with a 6.6 percent decline. Apple accounted for 11.5 percent of the global smartphone market, its lowest share since the first quarter of 2009. Apple’s sales fell by 8.5 percent in the U.S. and by 31 percent in China, two of its biggest markets. The iPhone 7 struggled to stimulate replacement sales.

This performance also saw Huawei’s increasing move into the premium market help it close the gap on Apple, reducing Apple’s lead from 5.3% last year to 2.8% this year.

The real winners were two Chinese brands, Oppo and BKK, each of which came close to doubling their market share.

“China led the growth in the smartphone market in the third quarter of 2016,” said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. “Sales of smartphones in China grew by 12.4 percent, and the vendors who most successfully exploited the sales opportunities there were Oppo and BBK Communication Equipment. In Oppo’s case, 81 percent of its smartphone sales came from China, while BBK accounted for 89 percent of smartphones sales in China. These two vendors also grew strongly in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Russia,” he added.

None of this is likely to cause too many sleepless nights in Cupertino, however. While Apple may be losing ground in market share, it still takes home almost all the profits in the industry.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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