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Apple holds onto second place in slightly increased global smartphone market

Apple's 40.4 million iPhones shipped during the June quarter —a 15 percent decline year-over-year —were still enough to keep it in second place in the worldwide smartphone market, which reversed recent trends and grew "modestly," according to research firm Canalys.

Apple didn't see much benefit from the launch of the iPhone SE in late March, which also made little headway in the company's nascent Chinese and Indian markets, commented Canalys' Rushabh Doshi. The analyst blamed the relatively high price of the SE, which while less expensive than the iPhone 6s still starts at $399 in the U.S. In India, many phones sold cost less than $150.

"Consumers instead opted for local vendors, whose build quality and specifications are a better value alternative," Doshi added. China in particular is home to several rising smartphone makers such as Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo.

Huawei in fact claimed third place in the smartphone market, selling approximately 31 million phones as it did well in China and expanded its footprint overseas. The company doesn't have much presence in the U.S., although it does make the Google-branded Nexus 6P.

Samsung came out on top, selling about 80 million units worldwide. Canalys' Tim Coulling noted that the company benefited from Gear VR bundles, which for instance saw the headset offered for free with Galaxy S7 preorders. The S7 has sold well as a rule however, and its success along with a shift away from low-end phones has reportedly increased Samsung's average selling price.

On Tuesday, Apple executives claimed that the iPhone SE is "popular in both developed and emerging markets," and that sales have outstripped supply.