We’ve been observing the rising dominance of Android devices throughout 2012, particularly Samsung's supremacy of the high-end Android market. Now that 2012 is over we’ve been reflecting on exactly how Samsung, Apple, and other major manufacturers have fared over the past year.
One of the most telling reports published recently is ChangeWave’s quarterly consumer smartphone report, which gives us insight into the demand for smartphones in North America. ChangeWave conducted a survey which asked consumers about their planned purchases in the next 90 days, the results of which confirm that Samsung sales are going from strength to strength, whilst Apple’s market dominance may be starting to take a hit.
December’s survey indicates unprecedented levels of demand for Samsung products, showing a very impressive 8% increase in demand for its Android devices compared with a similar survey from September.
According to the research, demand for Samsung's smartphones has reached new highs, with 21% of participants stating that they are planning on buying a Samsung product in the next 90 days. Even after the launch of the Galaxy S3, demand has continued to increase over the course of the year. This is no doubt assisted by the launch of the Galaxy Note 2. One of Samsung's greatest strengths lies in its range of premium products, which helps the company maintain a steady interest in their devices, whereas Apple only has one flagship smartphone available at any one time.
The survey also found that the Galaxy S3 was the most desirable of all Samsung handsets, which isn’t really surprising. 69% of people who were going to purchase a Samsung handset said they wanted to get their hands on the Galaxy S3. The Galaxy Note 2 came in second place, scoring an interest of 23%.
If we take a look at Apple’s performance in this survey, the statistics are still very good overall, but they have seen a rather large 21% reduction in demand for their smartphone products as of December.
It’s still very impressive that 71% of all prospective smartphone consumers were eager to grab an iPhone 5 at the device's launch, and that they've managed to maintain interest at high levels – one in two North American consumers come the end of the year. So the statistics are still looking very good for Apple. Each consecutive iPhone release since the 3GS has seen higher and higher levels of demand, and it’s seems to be very usual for demand to lull after the launch of a new model.
There are a few worry signs in the data though, the iPhone 5 saw by far the largest decline in post launch interest, down 21% this time, compared with only an 11% reduction in demand in the quarter following the iPhone 4S launch, and a 13% decline after the initial release of the iPhone 4. This suggests that Apple may be struggling to maintain interest in its newest iPhone following the launch hysteria.
Mostly, this report again outlines what we already knew, Apple still has by far the largest interest market share out of any single manufacturer, but Samsung (Android) appears to be growing at a faster rate. So what does this mean looking into 2013?
Well, Samsung will most likely see a good start to the year. Looking at December’s demand it's likely to see continued growth in its share of the market. There’s also the Galaxy S4 to look forward too at some point this year, which could propel Samsung into unprecedented territory when it comes to product demand. For Apple, it’s likely to be a little shakier. Recent reports suggest lower than expected demand, but then again the launch of the iPhone 6 could see Apple breach even higher levels of consumer interest.
I’d be bluffing if I said I knew exactly how 2013 is going to play out for the two market leaders, especially until we can stack their newest flagship devices up against each other. I’m eagerly waiting to see how all Android manufacturers can improve on what was definitely a successful year for my favorite smartphone OS.