Samsung and other competitors have outgrown Apple in the premium market

June 18, 2013

    Apple

    A recent study by Counterpoint Research shows that Samsung and other manufacturers have bitten huge chunks of Apple’s market share in the past year, when it comes to premium smartphones priced above $400. The same trend can also be observed in the number of premium phones shipped in the past year, where Apple’s dominance seems to fade away.

    Due to competition from handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S3/4, Galaxy Note 2, the HTC One, One X, and others, Apple’s market share in the segment has dropped from 73 percent in May 2012, to 38 percent in May this year (as seen in the graphic below, from Tech-Thoughts). On the other hand, Samsung experienced the biggest growth, jumping from 20 percent last year to a healthy 47 percent, measured last month.

    The share of the Others group, which includes Android manufacturers, but also Nokia and Blackberry, also doubled in just one year.

    Premium Smartphone Market Share

    Image credit: Tech-Thoughts.net

    The figures above may be a bit misleading regarding Samsung’s vertiginous rise. The Samsung Galaxy S3 was launched at the end of May 2012 so the company’s last year flagship cannot be given much credit for Samsung’s market share in that specific month.

    Image credit: Tech-Thoughts.net

    Smartphone shipments – credit: Tech-Thoughts.net

    As Tech-Thoughts reports, a more accurate view on the market can be gained by analyzing the number of smartphone shipped in the same time-frame. Using his own estimations, Tech-Thoughts‘ Sameer Singh notes that the iPhone shipment numbers have remained virtually unchanged over the past year, while Samsung’s figures have rose greatly, from around 2.5 million in May 2012 to around 13 million this year.

    When comparing the rise of other manufacturers to Samsung’s and Apple’s, we have even more interesting results. Samsung has managed to keep the pace with other product vendors while Apple was left behind.

    It’s also worth noting that Q2 is usually Apple’s weakest quarter and that in the period in which the study was conducted, Apple released only one smartphone: the iPhone 5.The company is expected to launch another handset in the months to come.

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    Comments

    • MasterMuffin

      It could be better if all the Android manufacturers, or at least few, were doing about as good. Then again, now that Samsung is so big, the smaller ones (HTC, Sony, Motorola, LG, Oppo, ZTE, Huawei…) have to make more awesome phones and innovate which is good for consumers! Hard to decide which one would be a better situation!

      • Trent Richards

        I just don’t understand why people think that Samsung’s success is a bad thing for the other Android OEMs. The more people that buy Samsung phones the more people that are trying out Android and could potentially decide to check out one of the other Android OEMs. Also like you said, this also causes the other OEMs to innovate and improve their products. However I think Samsung’s success is less about their innovation and more about their marketing.

        • cycad007

          How about because Samsung’s marriage with Android/Google is out of money & convenience? The Korean company couldn’t care less about Android and actually would prefer it if you used their OS….Tizen. The *ONLY* reason Samsung supports Android is because they *NEED* Google services to sell their phones. The same services they hope to replace one day.

          • Doan

            This is no different from HTC, Apple, Sony, or any other business. None of them care about the customer; it’s all about the cash flow.

          • YoungHermit

            Without Samsung, maybe Apple would still have the biggest part of the smartphone market share. I, myself, was an iSheep until the S3 came out. Also, with the S3 (and other flagship phones such as the One X, but mostly the S3), people became more aware of Android and its superiority. Nonetheless, they all want our money, just like Doan said.

          • Trent Richards

            Ok so you have explained your personal bias against Samsung. However nothing you stated explains how Samsung’s success is a bad thing for the other Android OEMs. The fact is the success of phones like the GS2/3/4 and the Note 1/2 has brought a lot of attention to Android and helped show the world that Android is the superior mobile OS.

            • cycad007

              I just stated the facts. Let me know which statement I made was false. Why is Samsung’s success a bad thing for other Android OEMs?! They’re a huge company with anti-competitive tendencies?

              1. How about hiring people to write up fake negative reviews for competing products?

              2. How about abruptly stopping the supply of their displays to a competitor to stop their handset sales?

              3. How about being guilty of secretly fixing the prices of DRAM?

            • Trent Richards

              I never said anything about you making false statements. You have given further detail on your personal issues with Samsung. You have described how certain business practices of Samsung are anticompetitive. I still do not see where you explain how Samsung’s success is bad for the other OEMs.

            • cycad007

              Trent… anti-competitive practices are *BAD* for the competition (other OEMs). That’s precisely why its called “anti-competitive”. What exactly are you expecting? Samsung’s success to be a good thing for other OEMs?!

              Anyways if you choose to be blind about the facts, then continue on…I’ve said my piece.

            • Trent Richards

              Cycad, it is clear that you have a personal bias towards Samsung. That is perfectly fine and I certainly won’t argue with you about that. That doesn’t change the fact that Samsung’s success has been great for the Android platform and therefore beneficial to all Android OEMs. Because of the success of the galaxy line, many more people have grown to love the Android OS and they now look at other OEMs when considering their next purchase. No matter how you feel about the company, Samsung has been beneficial to the growth of Android. Google themselves have said so.

            • On a Clear Day

              I have a news flash for you cycad007.

              We do not live in a perfect world where even a small percentage of people (or corporations) are pure as the driven snow.

              I appreciate the issues you cited that you have with Samsung but ANY corporation or institution (including governments) that employ almost countless people are going to have parts of them doing things that they ought not and if wiser heads had reviewed would have been nixed from the get go.

              You are correct to feel that what you find as unacceptable is so; however, life is not black and white and rest assured there is not a single huge corporation out there that doesn’t have equal or worse skeletons in its closet.

              That’s life and that’s the way the world works. It is a mistake to get hung up in more or less minor transgressions perpetrated by a probably rogue element of a company I think.

            • cycad007

              I appreciate your comment, On a Clear Day. But Samsung has A LOT of skeletons in its closet. I only listed but a few of the larger scandals.

              Do your research, I’m willing to bet you’ll like Samsung’s behavior less and less. I’m not saying they don’t make a great product…they do. But I’ll *NEVER* give my hard-earned money to support them directly (indirectly…is another story)

          • john

            That’s how everyone does business haha, I doubt HTC is sticking with Google for brand loyalty.
            That being said, it is pretty safe to assume hardly any thing will beat Android for awhile, even that pathetic Taizen. The way Android works and etc, is that it’s multi-platform OS. If Samsung breaks away from Android, it’s Samsung vs HTC,Sony, Motorolla gazillion Chinese phone manufactures. Simply not enough developers for Samsung.

            Android-> Run everywhere, run at decent speed, take advantage of different hardwares.

        • Victor V.

          eh i disagree. the “gimmicky” features are what drew me to the s4 over other android phones. Since every flagship phone by every manufactures pretty much have all the same internals. they are all decked out to the brim with top of the line hardware(i do consider the s4 to have the best hardware as well,except for aesthetic material used in it’s chassis). The unique ways that you can interact with the s4 is what differentiated it from it’s android competitors. The htc one had as aluminum casing, but the feel of the phone does not really matter to me as much as it’s utility. I’m not sure if the htc one can do this but you can actually take a picture of text written on paper and it will automatically put that text into a text message or an email. pretty crazy. all the other gimmicky features i i liked as well.well actually you might be right about the marketing. since they marketed these gimmicky features a lot lol

          • Trent Richards

            Precisely, it was the marketing of the gimmicky features that attracted you. HTC has some features of their own but you hardly hear about them.

            • Victor V.

              I guess my point was that it is the features themselves that sold me even though Samsung did market them heavily. The aluminum htc one casing, and boom sound front facing speakers were also heavily advertised by htc . Well that is what I keep hearing about when i read articles about it as well as commercials or advertisements by htc one.each and every company advertises there products strong points. the s4′s strong points sold me more than the htc one’s strong points. I have been using the “gimmicky” features a lot since I purchased the phone. I have only had it for a few weeks though so only time will tell if I will continue to use them. the main thing I ever hear about on the htc one is the aluminum body,boom sound, and sometimes zoe.

            • On a Clear Day

              Victor I think what Trent is referring to as gimmicky features are actually distinguishing features that are part of any good product’s selling points.

              I know that people bemoan the user interfaces that that Samsung and others put over stock Android – including the imprimatur of Android Authority and its founder Darcy LaCouvée SMS – however, your statement validates the wisdom of Samsung and others in using one.

              I am a salesman, and as any salesman worth their salt will tell you if a product doesn’t have some distinguishing factor or factors that help differentiate it from the also rans – it is in big trouble because soon it will be relegated to the category of a commodity – where price becomes the only differentiating factor people are thinking about, and once a product becomes a commodity at that low level it is death to your profit margins and your name brand.

            • Victor V.

              I completely agree, Some of the software features on the s4 are directly tied to the hardware Samsung decided to put in the s4 as well. The front facing infrared sensor is how the s4 picks up “air gestures” as well as distinguishes if you are looking at the phone or looking away.. I seriously can’t get enough of these unique and innovative ways to interact with your smartphone that Samsung has provided. I believe they focused more on utility/function over an aesthetically pleasing design. I’m glad they chose to focus on this instead of how a phone “feels”. At the same time the phone is not ugly at all. It has an understated design, but it is very thin and light.

            • Trent Richards

              I think people are misunderstanding my point. I am not saying that Samsung is not innovative. I am simply saying that their success is more about their Marketing. You guys are speaking of features that they only recently started putting into their phones. Samsung has been successful with sales since the GS2 and it is largely due to their superior and wide spread marketing. Ask the average consumer(not people like us that keep up with technology) if they have heard of the HTC One or the Sony Xperia or the Motorola RAZR. Most likely they haven’t even heard of them, much less know any real info about them. Then ask if they have heard of the Samsung Galaxy S4. Samsung is doing great things with their devices now. The reason they now have the R&D budget that they now have is due to their success from good marketing in years past.

            • Victor V.

              Actually you make really good points. The Samsung galaxy line did not impress me until the s4. I have been keeping track of their releases as well as the releases of all the other manufactures. I Digest a lot of tech news each and every day. So I’m sure the average consumer only knows about the galaxy line due to Samsung’s marketing.well, before the s3-s4 that is. I had a falling out with Samsung after owning a Samsung captivate. It was buggy and annoying to use. So i switched to an atrix 4g when it was time for me to purchase my next phone.. I was not impressed with their phones for a while. the s3 piqued my interest with some of its features, but not enough to make the jump back towards a Samsung phone. The s4 absolutely blew me away though with the unique ways you can interact with it. I discover new things that the phone can do each and every day. The written text to digital text feature is one of those .The s4 is truly a power users dream phone to be honest.

            • Trent Richards

              Yeah I currently use a GS3 and prior to this model I felt that all Samsung smartphones were crap. I couldn’t believe that more people heard of and bought the Galaxy S and Galaxy S2 over phones like the HTC Incredible and Incredible 2(I owned both HTC phones and did find the name suiting at that time). I was glad to see that Samsung was using profits from previous success to improve their new products. The GS4 is evidence that they are continuing to do so.

            • Trent Richards

              Just to be clear I was only maintaining the term that Victor used. He first referred to those features as “gimmicky” and I only continued using that phrasing to avoid confusion. You are right that I don’t mean it in a negative way. In fact, I find that many of those features are intriguing and rather useful.

            • Victor V.

              yes you’re right I was the one who initially used the term “gimmicky. I did this since the main features that I like; smart scroll,smart preview,smart unlock,and smart eye detect are usually refereed to as being gimmicky. I personally don’t consider these features to be gimmicky. I love these features, and they add to the ease of use to the phone. I consider these features to be truly innovative even though it does appear that Samsung threw everything in to see what would stick lol. Either way I hope Samsung continues this trend.

        • On a Clear Day

          But Trent, certainly Samsung is no slouch in the marketing department, but they also seem to be paying more attention to peoples’ desires than some of their competitors. For instance, I will not buy any phone that does not have a removable batter or a micro SD card. Yet HTC and Sony and Nokia seem to think a removable battery is not necessary (though HTC has included a micro SD card with their newest release).

          I don’t claim to be all knowing – though having sold cell phones for a major carrier I am more than a little informed – but Samsung isn’t trying to make the market follow it – as is Apple with its one size must fit all and if you don’t like it you’re just not cool paradigm. They are observing the market and doing what any good, innovative company does and knows it must do – adapt its offerings to what the people want – not what is convenient for it to manufacturer.

          Right now, I am planning on buying the Galaxy S4 because it has plenty of power, RAM and ROM and a load of features that I a may or may not use all of but am not unhappy are on the phone. There is frankly no other phone I am aware of that comes close to matching it – that offers a removable battery and micro SD card at this time.

          So, bottom line, Samsung not only makes quality phones that are reliable but offers phones that address just about every market segment and person’s need. Is it any wonder that they are their wares are the most popular? No.

          The wonder is that some of the design and marketing people at the other manufacturers continue to act as though they are both clueless and dumb as posts when it comes to responding to and caring about the needs of their prospect bases.

          But, I am sure Samsung doesn’t mind, because they will just continue to continue with their winning formula and let the others fight over that fraction of the market that they and Apple don’t dominate.

    • Hikari0307

      Soon iOS based devices will be like Mac devices in the PC market.

      • Piyush

        but still mac-book defies the standard for laptop , i am bit of surprised even with all dominance of windows.

        • Xennex1170

          True, however being the company that defines the standard does not necessarily equate to being the most profitable. At the rate they are going now iOS devices may eventually end up becoming a niche market for ‘defining’ products that only a select few will buy. Hopefully at least enough to keep Apple afloat. With Samsung now at the forefront, Apple has become less of a ‘goal’ for a lot of smartphone OEMs. There will be a lot more R&D and innovation in the Android space due to the sheer number of OEMs in that space with which even Apple does not have the funds to match.

      • kascollet

        Yes, the best devices… at the correspondent high price-tag.
        Just like a BMW or a Mercedes. Not for everyone, but ideal for some.

        • Victor V.

          bahaha!best devices?!?!actually you might be right when it comes to apple laptops, but smartphones.. I don’t think so.

          • kascollet

            Well, to me, a good smartphone is a small smartphone.
            In this particular category, the iPhone is king, period.

            • Victor V.

              eh true i will give you that. I prefer big screens as long as it is thin and light.

            • YoungHermit

              True, the iPhone has good tech specs for a small phone.

            • kascollet

              Not exactly.
              The iPhone has among the best tech specs of all smartphones (remember the iPhone 5 is now eight months old), and absolutely destroys whatever exists in the small-phone category.

    • APai

      I think sony might do well in the near future. Apple’s dominance was always going to be challenged given how rigid they were to their stand – about ALL aspects of their phone. apple expected customers to follow their word on what was best for them. clearly that wouldn’t work. we have proof positive about the same. Now, apple is forced to play the game everyone else is playing – vie for customers attention (instead of it dictating what was good for its customers)

    • Surprised in Leeds

      I think these figures are a bit misleading. “shipped units” and “sold” units are entirely different figures. Most Android phone makers quote “shipped” figures, yet Apple only quote “sold” figures. When visited my local phone store recently I asked about buying an iPhone 5 and was told it would be 3 to 4 weeks before I could have one as they had no iPhone’s in stock. However, I could walk away today with a new Galaxy S4. Considering the S4 was only launched 2 months ago, I was rather surprised at this,

      • sfasljkas

        apple also has shipped numbers you make it seem like only apple has the right to claim “actual sales”

        • kascollet

          Indeed, Apple communicates on actual sales (and they’re the only ones doing so).

    • JM_66

      while Samsung’s figures have rose greatly”…please edit; “have risen.”

    • Victor V.

      I wish i cold pick up one of those silver/chrome apples.I like the picture a lot.

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