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Apple closes the gap on Samsung's advertising budget

Research conducted by Kantar Media shows that Apple managed to closed its ad spending gap with Samsung to just £12 million in 2013.
April 9, 2014
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The US smartphone market is a big competitive business, to keep yourself ahead of the pack you have to spend big bucks on making sure that consumers know about your products. Samsung is still the biggest spender on advertising in the US, but it’s rival, Apple, is quickly closing the gap.

Research conducted by Kantar Media shows that Samsung spent a $68 million more on advertising than Apple in 2012, but last year the gap closed to just $12 million. This swing came from a combination of Samsung dialing back its ad spending, whilst Apple embarked on an expensive TV-led campaign.

As for the actual figures, Samsung splashed about $363 million on US phone ads, down 10 percent from 2012’s cost of $401 million. Samsung was also the only smartphone company to cut its advertising budget last year. Apple, on the other hand, spent around $351 million on phone advertising in 2013, up 5 percent from $333 million in the previous year. As a side note, Apple spent more on TV ads in 2013 than it spent on all advertising in 2012.

To give you an idea of just how big the smartphone advertising market is, seven of the biggest smartphone manufacturers spent a little over $1.3 billion on advertisements in the US last year. This covers a wide range of advertising mediums, including TV, print, radio, and online ads. Total spending for 2013 was up a staggering 33 percent from 2012, when manufacturers spent roughly $1 billion on advertising.

It probably comes as no surprise in this day and age that spending on telecommunication ads — that’s TV and internet content — is growing the fastest. Spending in this sector grew by 8 percent through 2013, which is nine times faster than the wider US ad industry’s growth figure of just 0.9 percent.

2013 Ad Spending
Samsung’s and Apple’s ad budgets dwarf those of the five other largest spenders.

As for the other big US spenders, Nokia came in third place and was the company which increased its spending by the largest amount year over year. Nokia paid out $221 million in 2013, which is 15 times the amount that the company spent in 2012. Motorola was a similarly high spender, throwing $189 million into the advertising pot. The company tripled its ad spending following the acquisition by Google in mid-2012.

Blackberry, HTC, and LG form up the lower ranks of the seven largest spenders, purchasing $90 million, $76 million, and $46 million worth of advertisements respectively.

With such huge budgets dedicated just to advertising products, it’s easy to see why many smartphone companies are starting to feel a pinch in their profits. But I suppose the most important thing is that all this money spent on advertising appears to be working. Well, at least most of the time.