Why is Samsung slightly losing global market share?

by: William Neilson JrApril 30, 2014

samsung-komt-met-12-inch-tablet-in-oktober-samsung-logo-3 SAMMobile.com

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 appThe 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.

  • wezi427

    Hopefully people are starting to realize that Samsung and it’s Galaxy line run on Android. People on here know the difference, but a lot of people going to buy a phone don’t.

  • Sal

    Good post. It echoes my frustration (and a lot of other Samsung users). It may not be a massive dip in sales but there’s a lot of cracks and my next device definitely won’t be a Samsung.

    Build quality, bloatware, touchwiz, poor with updates. People that are slightly tech savvy will have problems with such things and no doubt get frustrated. There’s plenty of competition now that are doing a much better job.

  • Anthony Francis

    The impact of bloat ware is exaggerated. I personally do not mind bloat ware. Apps that I do not use stay in the app drawer and do not make it to my home screen. Hence they are not a nuisance. The real reason for Samsung’s under performance is their stubbornness in sticking to a cheap plastic build and boring design for their flagship phones. Every other flagship phone has a premium design. In addition, Samsung seem to have discarded their USP of feature filled phones. There is no harm in feature overload. If users do not like a feature, they need not use them. I personally found some of the so called gimmicks like the screen staying awake as long as the user looks at it very useful. I miss that in my new ASUS padfone. So lack of gimmicky features means no wow factor. Samsung’s the new Apple.

    • Bloatware takes up precious space on the device. Samsung makes devices of all kinds, not just flagships. All kinds also includes cheap $200 phones with 4 GB of internal storage. Imagine that bloatware on that phone. All of it. Yes, I’ve seen it, it’s there. My friend’s Galaxy S Duos barely has enough space for a couple of games without an SD card (which frankly not everybody wants to stick into their phones).

      I agree with the design thing though. Samsung designs look crap.

      Feature overload is okay (in fact, let’s welcome feature overload), but let’s have it in a UI that doesn’t confuse people. My dad still doesn’t understand what half the toggles in the notification area of his S4 do.

    • Ivan Budiutama

      Agree with Naman, the thing about “bloatware” is you can’t uninstall them. It becomes even more annoying as some of the forced app in Galaxies are already available as Google service, mainly Hangouts vs ChatOn, S Notes vs Google Keep, Samsung app store vs play store, the list can go on. That’s the big deal. You don’t have any control on what you want, most people here use LINE instead of ChatON, Google Keep instead of S-Memo, some don’t even install flipboard/feedly and god of course most use Playstore instead of Samsung App Store or Samsung Game hub thingy, do people really use S-Health features? Why it is a big deal? Since storage become more and more precious by days, the quality of the software became better and more demanding, people need control of the things they need and don’t.

      I tend to be more agree that Samsung’s plastic material IS exaggerated as in my habit, I use case as well as more people put their phone on smart-view-kinda cover (which insanely popular for reasons I don’t quite understand).

  • Daniel D

    I know the difference and I still when he samsung again. I liked the feel of clean Android when installed cyanogenmod on my s3. But I missed a lot of touchwiz functions and I switched back to touchwiz after a while.

  • Tarso Sousa

    Because they are dumb!

    And their products have more brand then specs.

    Horrible strategy!

    • Kash Gummaraju

      They’re more specs as well, all their flagships come with the top of the line specs.

  • Shark Bait

    Because the other manufacturers are seriously upping their game and producing grest devices. Meanwhile Samsung’s phones are Being designed by the marketing department for some buzz words to use.

    • MasterMuffin

      But Samsung is still pretty much the only one making phones with removable batteries. It’s becoming less relevant, but it’s still important for many

  • Xavier_NYC

    Better competition, more variety… Seems like all phone manufacturers are stepping their game up because of the revenue that can be made from selling quality devices..

    • hahaha

      Right! Because HTC MADE A PREMIUM DEVICE RIGHT! Is that what you call quality, but yet still wont sell?

      • Xavier_NYC

        I was actually referring to all around quality i.e. specs, screen, features, battery life, functionality, user experience etc like the G2, Xperia Z, Moto X and also the HTC One.

  • Guest123

    It’s a little thing called “margin of error.”

  • Fernando

    I think they will continue to loose if they don’t concentrate on Hardware and give Google a chance to concentrate on Software. Being a Galaxy user for more than 3 years, I can say that Touchwizz is the ugliest UI to use. It has never changed. They need a change.. I like my Galaxy Note 2, with Cyanogen, Why? Because it is way faster and simpler than touchwiz

  • Martin

    I think thats because the China Companies has expanded to overseas marked :) .

  • Sal

    A.) Competition has gotten stiffer with many Android OEM’s such as LG, Motorola, HTC, Sony and others have produced great devices that offer a better user experience.
    B) Consumers are starting to see better alternatives than Samsung and have finally realized that Samsung is getting stale in terms of design and are getting sick of the amount of bloatware Sammy gobbles up on each Galaxy phone. Their Touchwiz UI still needs improvement.
    C)This happens with previous number one smartphone makers. They will rise to the top and they will stay at the top for a number of years and then they will decrease due to competition.
    D)Too many knock off rubbish phones from their flagships, overwhelming consumers. They should scrap all these down the trash and focus on the Galaxy S and Note Series.

    • Anonymous

      Nailed it! One thing I’d like to add though is that people who use Samsung’s cheap devices maybe are getting the feeling of not being treated well since those devices often don’t see even one update and also because they see their pretty bad processing power which makes even scrolling through your file explorer sluggish (had an ace duos before I got my nexus 5).
      Some people (like me) don’t get the best impression of such a company then and think of buying a phone from a different brand next time then.

      • Sal

        Yeah… I’m still struggling along with my samsung gio.. my upgrade is in October and the phone is so bad in everything it does. Battery life, speed, performance etc. I can’t wait to toss it out the window when I upgrade. I can’t see myself going to Samsung again so I’m trying someone else. Whoever that might be.

    • The-Sailor-Man

      Stiffer??? LOL
      Competion that count on ALUMINUM , GLASS or UNIBODY could only take some hairdressers from Apple.
      But they must know that it’s hard to take izombies.

      • Sal

        I don’t think that’s what I meant by stiffer…

  • GrinigGammalGubbe

    Samsung is following Nokia…

  • Vasishta Nagalla

    Very poor and cheap materials used by Samsung which disgusts many users. Make something like NOKIA.

    Samsung has a bad and very cheap build quality in their product line.

    • The-Sailor-Man

      Should samsung look at Nokia??
      Samsung won just because don’t make UNIBODY smartphones(or ALUMINUM)

      • Vasishta Nagalla

        So you like Plastiky Crap which Samsung Makes. But we don’t. We like Uni-body Aluminium finishes which NOKIA , HTC like companies make. Check out Lumia 1520 or HTC M8. Go and see the web. Best well designed phones come from NOKIA and HTC but not Samsung. The new “Samsung S5- Band aid” is Junk.
        LOL !!! ROFL !!!
        You may be a Samsung fan boy, but the whole world hates Samsung build Quality. Just know that. ROFL !!!

        • Sabrina

          A MicroSD slot and a removable battery is what caused me to buy another Galaxy S phone (I have the S5). The IR Blaster, fingerprint scanner, water resistant body, and ultra-powersaving mode and huge pluses.

          Yes, the band-aid back is ugly but don’t we all just cover up the back with a case anyways? I put a black UAG case on mine, and it looks awesome now.

          As far as how it compares to HTC, I have owned an HTC phone and I can’t stomach Sense. IMO, it’s worse than TW. Again, that’s simply my opinion. Yes, a metal body is nice but if the software on the device makes me insanely frustrated it doesn’t matter what is on the outside, plastic or metal, I’m not going to buy the device.

          As far as Touchwiz 5, it still needs improvement but it is light years better than its predecessors. Slap a home screen launcher on it and you’re good to go. However, yes I will be glad when they tweak Touchwiz a bit more.

        • Rotciv

          Lol really the whole world hates Samsung? Then explain why samsung is the top smart phone manufacturer, u silly little boy.

  • Iwan Haniyoto

    My first android is Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0, but after try another brand like LG, Lenovo, Asus, Nexus, etc, I think i never gonna using Samsung smartphone again. Why? Overpriced, cheap quality plastic, bloatware, and TouchWiz!
    With so many android brand, i carefully compared them with price/performace/quality and get new type/brand thats suits me every 1-2 years.

  • Al-Mothafar M. Al-Hasan

    There is a little issue here, that Samsung started to follow and “copy” apple strategy, they now just try to make their mobiles with same range of another market phones, they not trying getting flagship of market, if you look at s2 and s3 was a big jump and the best phones in that time, but then s4 and s5, what new they give ? just slightly more specs and almost same childish design, most another flagship phones better. as example,Sony Z1 and Z2, LG G2, HTC One and M8 all better than S5 !

    Not count their poor touchWiz, all customers asking Samsung for better experience but Samsung just focusing into Marketing and ignore feedback from customers and their fans.

    I was like Samsung but after S4 I started to think twice before get any of Samsung phones, and Ended with getting Sony Z1, and that was the best choice I did.

    • kg2128

      the s4 was still the best phone of it’s time until the lg g2/nexus 5 came out. The htc one got great reviews but didn’t sell because it had some major drawbacks. The s5 is definitely not holding off challengers in the same way and it’s only going to get worse when the LG G3 comes out.

  • DarxideGarrison

    ‘m just waiting for my Note 10.1 to get it’s KitKat update. But it will be my last Samsung device.

  • Z2 rinviato a giugno

    I guess a lot of people like me who have had Samsung products for the last few years are getting a bit board and want something new. At least for me it is so :)

  • Gab Tab

    “Its either you die a hero,

    or live long enough to become a villain.”

  • jasonv

    OMG samsung only sold 89 million smartphones last quarter more than the next three combined ring the alarm!

    • Al-Mothafar M. Al-Hasan

      Do even read the title ! “Why is Samsung slightly losing global market share” they losing but not saying they have least market share, look at another manufacturers you will see that they growing faster and higher than Samsung that getting less grow rate compared to another like LG and Sony.

  • Milton

    Because people are starting to realize how bad their phones are, other companies make lots of effort to improve, that big S hasn’t shown anything innovative, just copying others won’t work forever for Samsung, they seriously must stop copying others features and work on their own

    • jakes

      there is a phone called the phone that every OEM is copying now

      • jakes

        sorry called the note aka “phablet”

  • Sebastian Nuñez Del Prado

    That’s why the only line that interests me is the galaxy note series. Currently have the note 2 and it’s great for what I demand out of a phone.

  • The-Sailor-Man

    Apple lost more market than Samsung. But the propaganda choose this headline. Don’t “worry”, and pretend to care about Samsung. S5 is here already.
    And now all iExperts-“designers” start to talk about ALUMINUM and UNYBODY, again.LOL
    Samsung is the biggest on the market just because didn’t listen to you. Period

  • kg2128

    The other android manufacturers have definitely stepped up so it’s good overall, the less apple marketshare the better. Sony is now taking mobile seriously and the new HTC One addressed some of the issues that the old HTC One had. LG has benefited big time from the Nexus program. And Motorola… still sucks and got sold but hey atleast the price of the moto x is dropping, even if the hardware is low end.

  • Timmy

    “The firm strongly suggests that those actually using Samsung applications may only be doing so by accident”…perhaps that also goes for using their phones in general?

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