Smartphone wars: Samsung takes back Apple’s crown

Samsung has regained its crown as the world's top smartphone vendor after losing serious ground to U.S. rival Apple last year.

Samsung shipped 83.2 million smartphones worldwide in the first quarter of 2015, capturing 24.1 percent of the market share, according to data from tech research firm Strategy Analytics published Wednesday. It marks a significant jump from 19.6 percent market share in the previous quarter. (Tweet this)

In the fourth quarter of 2014, Apple caught up with Samsung, and both companies were neck and neck when it came to shipments. Both companies shipped 74.5 million smartphones over the period, and had equal market share, on the back of Apple's huge success with its large screen iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Despite Samsung pulling ahead in the first quarter of this year, smartphone shipments remained below the 89 million posted during the period a year earlier, and market share has seen a big decline from 31.2 percent.

"Samsung continued to face challenges in Asia and elsewhere, but its global performance has stabilized sufficiently well this quarter to overtake Apple and recapture first position as the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume," Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement.

Shipments of the Samsung's flagship Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge models were not included in the figures as the device went on sale on April 24, after the end of the first quarter.

Apple shipped 61.2 million smartphones in the first quarter of this year, garnering a market share of 17.7 percent. This was up from the 43.7 million iPhones shipped over the period a year earlier.

In third place was Chinese player Lenovo-Motorola, followed by domestic rival Huawei.

Galaxy S6 pick-up?

Strategy Analytics' numbers come after Samsung reported that net profit fell 39 percent on the year in the January-March period, the sixth consecutive quarterly decline.

The South Korean electronics giant has struggled in the smartphone market due to intense competition from low-cost Asian domestic players such as Xiaomi in China and Micromax in India. At the high-end, Apple's iPhone 6 has gained ground.

Samsung said on Wednesday that its average selling price for smartphones in the first quarter fell compared to the fourth quarter. The rise in shipments and drop in selling price was due to the large number of mid-range devices sold, but Samsung said it was positive that business would pick up in the next, quarter driven by Galaxy S6 sales.

"Recent strong demand for its new Galaxy S6 devices indicates Samsung could deliver an improved performance in the coming second quarter of this year," Mawston added.