Samsung Takes Smartphone Lead From Apple - InformationWeek
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6/30/2015
11:30 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Samsung Takes Smartphone Lead From Apple

Samsung has regained the US smartphone crown thanks to strong enough sales of the Galaxy S6. However, iPhone 6 sales are still strong.

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Samsung and Google's Android platform have wrested market share from Apple and its iOS platform in recent months. Buoyed by the Galaxy S6, Samsung was able to reclaim its lead over Apple in the US and other markets.

In the three-month period ending in May, Android increased its share of the US market by 2.8 percentage points to 64.9%, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. That leaves Apple with a bit under 35%, when BlackBerry and Windows Phone's presence -- or lack thereof -- is accounted for.

In Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, however, Android adoption dropped 2.9 percentage points where it ceded share back to Apple.

Samsung made gains in the US thanks to the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones. Samsung was able to grab 55% of all Android handsets sales in the US in the three-month period ending in May, up from 52% in the period ending in April.

The Apple iPhone 6 was the best-selling handset during the period, but the Galaxy S5 -- last year's phone -- ranked second, says Kantar, and the Galaxy S6 ranked third. The S5's presence in the top three is likely due to steep discounts following the S6's arrival. Samsung's share of the US market had been down by as much as 1.6 percentage points compared to the year-ago period, but is now down only 0.5 percentage points.

(Image: Stephen Krow/iStockphoto)

(Image: Stephen Krow/iStockphoto)

Apple, for a few months, stole the US smartphone crown from Samsung with huge sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Sales have begun to slow, however, as the next-generation iPhone announcement nears.

Samsung wasn't the only Android maker to see improvements.

Kantar says LG nearly doubled its US market share year-over-year. LG has flooded the US market with a wide range of handsets -- a strategy once employed by Samsung. Samsung dramatically reduced the number of phones it makes as it concentrates on the profit-stuffing flagship designs.

Samsung and LG have had a good 2015 so far, but the news isn't so good for their competitors.

[Read about the best Google apps for your iPhone.]

"Other tier-one Android players, such as HTC and Motorola, had a more difficult period, with their share decreasing both year-over-year and period-over-period, raising hopes for competitors -- such as Huawei and Sony, who have yet to wow US consumers -- that share could be up for grabs," Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, wrote in a June 30 statement.

Apple may be battling Samsung in the US and Europe, but it is racing neck-and-neck with Huawei and Xiaomi in China. All three companies are within 0.5 percentage points of one another, with respect to marketshare.

"China has become the most interesting market for mobile, both in terms of the importance it plays in a vendor's success, and its role as an incubator of new brands that quickly gain global status." Milanesi concluded.

Things are expected to heat up again for Apple in September, where the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will likely make their debut.

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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awebb199
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awebb199,
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7/4/2015 | 11:27:54 AM
Re: Actual data for period ending May, 2015
I don't know, but I would guess distribution channels inherited from Nokia. Italy is an outlier for sure.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
7/4/2015 | 9:58:29 AM
Re: Actual data for period ending May, 2015
@awebb199 Windows is over 10% in market share in Great Britain, France and Italy.
Why do you think Windows phone has a bigger chunk of the market in Europe? Is it because of how strong Nokia is over there?
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2015 | 11:28:16 PM
Re: Actual data for period ending May, 2015
@aweb199,

Oh, thanks for sharing that! I feel stupid for not scrolling down far enough to see that now, haha.

And look,  up to almost %15 in France! Still small overall, but considering Microsoft plans to double down on their mobile business in the coming years, including some interesting moves like partnering with AOL/Verizon to deliver ads, and selling Bing Maps to Uber, I wouldn't count them out just yet.
awebb199
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awebb199,
User Rank: Moderator
6/30/2015 | 11:07:24 PM
Actual data for period ending May, 2015

Eric you didn't need to guess: "That leaves Apple with a bit under 35%, when BlackBerry and Windows Phone's presence -- or lack thereof -- is accounted for."  If you just read the data that Kantar provided, you will see:

US Market Share in the period ending May 2015

Android   64.9%

Apple      30.9%

Windows  3.5%

 

Windows is over 10% in market share in Greate Britain, France and Italy.

 

zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2015 | 8:52:58 PM
Re: Samsung Takes Smartphone Lead From Apple
Maybe the combination of S5 and S6 sales being what put Samsung over the top is sort of representative of the whole playing field here. Samsung, and Android, for that matter, are just generally playing toward a wider market, so maybe this is not all that surprising. The numbers are actually very close, though I think you might be just slightly underestimating Windows/Blackberry's presence, Eric; If Android accounts for 65% of the market, and Samsung has just over half that (let's say 33% of the total), Apple must have just under that amount (32% or less). Meager as it still as overall, that means Blackberry and Windows do pick up a couple of percentage points each.

The bits about China were particularly interesting. I would have thought Samsung was quite strong in asian regions (it certainly is in South Korea, for obvious reasons), but it seems that China really is it's own region. As with many other products, we might be seeing those chinese smartphone brands over here sooner than we think. I don't think that's a bad thing - although we have a tight 2-3 player race in the US, more competition is always a good thing. As we move towards the IoT era, things may become more global as standards become more universal. Maybe all the differing market share situations from the various regions will come together for a nice, healthy marketplace. 
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2015 | 6:34:53 PM
Re: Quality vs Quantity
"So even though Android and Samsung are getting a bigger market share...I still think Apple is making a better performance from a profit margin stand point."


@mejiac: I think at the end of the day it's not the margins that matter but the overall profit you make. Apple might be making a higher marging but they lack the volume. Samsung gains on the volume side and hence has a higher profitablilty. 
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2015 | 1:45:07 PM
Quality vs Quantity
Excellent Article,

But, when folks ask me which provider is better I always provide this analogy: It's not the same to sell 5 Toyotas than one Mercedes (Mercedes being Apple).

Iphone is the premium brand, although Samsung is getting quite close, they've had to pull out all the stops just to be able to compete at the same level. One aspect that can reflect why Apple has had the best design is when samsung decided to forgo the replaceable battery (something that many critized on Iphones).

So even though Android and Samsung are getting a bigger market share...I still think Apple is making a better performance from a profit margin stand point.

I have a nexus 7 and absolutly love it's flexibility, but when it comes to smartphones, i still think Iphones are a far better product. iOS is a lot more polished, I see Samsung's version of Android is cluttered.

But this is my personal opinion...what does the community think?
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2015 | 1:40:34 PM
This had to happen
The iPhone is undoubtedly good but I have liked the Samsung galaxy S6 more since I have tried it out. I however was always a fan of BlackBerry and I still am. I generally don't use android or iPhone because these phones are easy to hijack and since my payment. Info as well as card numbers are in my phone I trust BlackBerry or Windows Phone for securing them.
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