While Apple challenged Samsung for its position as king of the global smartphone castle in the last quarter, the latest numbers show that Samsung once again comfortably rules the roost.

According to IDC Corp.’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the global smartphone market suffered its usual post-holiday depression in the first quarter. Some 336.5 million smartphones were shipped worldwide in Q1, which is up 16.7 per cent from the 288.5 million units shipped in Q1 of 2014, but down 10.9 per cent from the holidays-fuelled Q4 performance.

“The challenge made by Apple for the top spot in the fourth quarter returned to a clear lead for Samsung in the first quarter, despite the soaring global demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus,” said Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC’s mobile phone team, in a statement. “Samsung’s shipments, given that the S6 was not launched into the market for the full quarter, were driven by large volumes into emerging markets and steady demand for its midrange and lower-priced smartphones.”

Looking at the shipments by vendor, Samsung shipped 82.4 million units in the quarter and captured 24.5 per cent of the market, which was actually down seven per cent from the same quarter one year ago. Apple’s 61.2 million units was good for 18.2 per cent of the market. While it still trailed behind Samsung, it was impressive growth of 40 per cent for Apple over the comparable

“Apple’s strong follow-up quarter was in itself surprising, as it enjoyed success thanks to consumers’ insatiable appetite for larger screened iOS devices in many key markets, including Greater China,” said Melissa Chau, senior research manager with IDC’s Mobile Device Tracker team. “Through the rest of this year, we expect all vendors to be squeezed on falling ASPs, while at the high end it will be a battle between the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge from Samsung versus continued demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.”

In third spot was Lenovo, which continued to benefit from its Motorola acquisition. Lenovo shipped 18.8 million units for 5.6 per cent of the market and growth of 49.2 per cent over the comparable quarter. Lenovo is strategically positioning both brands to maximize brand awareness and global reach, and is entering the premium market with the P90, Vibe X2 pro and Vibe Shot.

Huawei and LG rounded out the top five with 18.8 and 17 per cent of the market respectively, both growing shipments by about 25 per cent.

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