Money talks: Samsung spent 20% more than Apple on ads in 2012, HTC a distant third

by: Bogdan PetrovanMarch 13, 2013

times square samsung galaxy s4 launch billboard (4)

Samsung spent significantly more than Apple to promote its mobile business in the US over the last year. HTC came third at a huge distance.

When it comes to success in the mobile business, money really does talk. At least that’s the conclusion one can draw from the figures released by research firm Kantar Media, which put Samsung on the first place in ad spending in the United States.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Samsung splurged on ads $401 million in 2012, in the US alone. Apple came in second (in the telecom sector) with $333 million. HTC spent just $46 million, while Blackberry and Nokia completed the top five. These figures include money spent on ads on television, print, and billboards, as estimated by Kantar Media.

us advertising budget 2012 Credit: WSJ

Even more impressive than the title of top spender is the evolution of Samsung’s advertising budget over the past few years. In 2011, the Galaxy maker spent just $78 million, dwarfed by Apple’s $253 million. Put another way, the Korean corporation quadrupled its ad budget in just two years, while Tim Cook’s company registered a far more modest 30% growth.

Many market watchers have attributed the recent success of Samsung’s mobile division to the generous amounts spent on advertising and other marketing activities, including incentives and training for sales representatives and in-store advertising. Recently, the Korea Times reported that Samsung spent close to $11 billion on marketing in 2012, in the entire world and including the company’s other activities, such as manufacturing of mobile component or home appliances.

Looking at these figures, I am wondering how much of the success of the Galaxy line is owed to advertising and marketing, as opposed to its intrinsic value. And how would the market look if, HTC, for instance, had Samsung’s marketing machine at its disposal. What do you think?

  • I am surprised apple more money in the bank still samsung is spending more money than aple in ads , samsung is very ,desperate i hope samsung live upto the hype .

  • Wait!

    HTC did not spend 124, but 46! Look at the graphic. And that fact alone should be hotly debated. What is the world is going on with HTC? Why would they reduce their marketing spend from 124 to 46? Are they crazy? Don’t they know that you have to spend money to make money?

    Probably the “quietly brillant” moniker drove them to pull into their shell and decide to do what they do really well, without calling lots of attention to it. Wrong strategy guys. It clearly backfired.

    I am frustrated because I like their hardware. But they have to learn from apple that being quiet about your hardware doesn’t sell enough to fund the R&D required for the next phone design.

    If anything, go into the red by overspending on marketing, but cutting marketing costs cuts profits. It just does.

    I predict that HTC will quietly shrink into the likes of Nokia circa 2013.

    • kurolife

      It’s common sense, they reduced their marketing cap in 2012 because their revenues are falling, hence the reduction, the first thing you try to do when things going wrong is cut spending, HTC needs more marketing! sure but they need to do it smartly ! aswell

    • Sorry for that! Fixed now.
      And wow, what a drop!