In the first quarter of 2014, Samsung retained its top ranking in smartphone sales but lost global market share for the first time in four years. Data from research firm Strategy Analytics Tuesday showed that Samsung’s first-quarter smartphone market share in terms of units sold slipped to 31.2% from 32.4% a year earlier.
On Tuesday, Samsung said its profit margin on smartphones was unchanged from 2013 at 19.8%. Apple also saw its market share slip to 15.3% from 17.5% a year earlier in the same period. Strategy Analytics said Samsung shipped 89 million units in the first quarter, compared to Apple’s 43.7 million units.
Two companies gained at the expense of Apple and Samsung. PC giant Lenovo saw its first-quarter handset shipments jump 58% in the first quarter, giving it a market share of 4.7% while Network-equipment maker Huawei sold 13.4 million units in the quarter giving it a share of 4.7%.
Samsung’s loss of global market share could be contributed to several reasons ranging from bad reviews, bad software and bad public relations.
Samsung recently released a new Galaxy S5 to average-at-best reviews. As one tech reporter noted:
“It’s a decent device that includes a few neat features. But its design is pedestrian at best. Many of its new features don’t work very well. And its interface is cluttered and confusing…..Samsung says it was aiming for a more-refined experience with the S5. I think it missed the mark.”
Just last week, Strategy Analytics noted that Samsung was continuing to see users fleeing their handset applications due to the bloatware included on the devices. While Samsung says that they have 100 million users on their messaging application, ChatOn, Strategy Analytics notes that US users spent around six seconds on average in the app. The firm strongly suggests that those actually using Samsung applications may only be doing so by accident:
“Based on AppOptix March 2014 US panel data on 250-plus Galaxy S3 and S4 users , the total time spent across key Samsung Apps on its flagship devices – Galaxy S3 and S4 – came just under 7 minutes.”
While Strategy Analytics apparently received positive feedback from some people using Samsung applications, are we to believe that the positive feedback was from actual people who are happy with the applications? Or did Samsung pay people to write good things about their applications…..like Samsung did last year?
Lastly, it was reported in February that Samsung pushed for the Olympic Committee to put in place rules that force athletes to cover up electronics that have an Apple logo since Samsung is the official consumer electronic sponsor for the Olympics.