Apple Inc. took home the lion's share of operating profits in the smartphone industry despite accounting for only 20% of the phones sold, a report says.

The company's iPhones raked in a disproportionate 92% of the total operating income earned by the world's top eight phone makers in the first quarter, the Wall Street Journal said citing data from Canaccord Genuity.

That represents a significant increase from the 65% share the Cupertino-based firm enjoyed in the first quarter of last year.

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest manufacturer of smartphones, had the second biggest share of profits at 15%.

Apple and Samsung account for more than 100% of smartphone industry profits because other phone makers either broke even or lost money in the first quarter.

The report cited Apple's higher pricing of its iPhones as the biggest reason for the surge in its profit share.

The iPhone sold for a global average price of £403 (€567, $627) last year, well above the average selling price of £119 (€168, $185) for an Android-based phone, according to Strategy Analytics.

"The dominance of Apple is something that is very hard to overcome," Denny Strigl, former chief operating officer of Verizon Communications, was quoted as saying.

"Apple has to stumble somehow or another, and I don't think that's going to happen."

The report comes days after Apple's competitor Samsung said it is likely to report a seventh straight quarter of falling profits in the April to June quarter.

The South Korean company's smartphone division has struggled for growth amid saturation in the market and increased competition from newer Chinese rivals.