Taipei, March 17 (CNA) Undeterred by the widely reported explosion of several Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, Taiwan's consumers have demonstrated a preference for the South Korean firm's smartphone models over other brands, making Samsung the largest smartphone vendor in Taiwan in 2016, statistics released by market advisory firm International Data Corp. (IDC) showed on Friday.
In 2016, a total of 8.74 million smartphones were sold in Taiwan, down 18 percent from the previous year, marking the first ever year-on-year decline in sales in the country, where the smartphone market has already reach saturation level, the IDC data showed.
Smartphones accounted for 95 percent of Taiwan's handset sales last year, the statistics indicated.
Samsung accounted for 22 percent of total smartphone sales in Taiwan last year to become the nation's best seller as the South Korean firm took advantage of the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S7 Edge and Galaxy J7 to maintain sales in Taiwan and offset the adverse impact of the Galaxy Note 7 explosions, the IDC said.
Apple Inc, the U.S-based consumer electronics giant, came second with a 20 percent share of Taiwan's smartphone market in 2016, IDC said.
Apple included Taiwan in the first round of global sales for the first time after it unveiled the latest iPhones -- the 5.5- inch iPhone 7 Plus and the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 -- in September, a move which boosted sales in the country, IDC added.
Taiwan-based PC vendor Asustek Computer Inc. (華碩) was the third largest smartphone vendor with 18 percent market share in 2016, according to IDC.
Asustek, which has worked to establish a foothold in the smartphone market in the face of a slowdown in the global PC market, benefited from the popularity of its ZenFone 2 Laser and ZenFone 3 models, IDC said.
HTC Corp. (宏達電) held a 15 percent share in the local smartphone market, making it the fourth largest brand, ahead of Japan's Sony Corp., which had a 9 percent market share, IDC added.
In 2016, smartphones with large-sized screens dominated the local market, with phablet models that have a display of 5.5-inch or larger accounting for about 50 percent of Taiwan's market, IDC said.
IDC said large-sized smartphones are expected to greatly increase their lead in the local Taiwan market in 2017, forecasting an 84 percent market share.
(By Esme Jiang and Frances Huang)