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Samsung retakes #1 smartphone market position in the USA, Apple 2nd, LG 3rd
However contained it may be, Samsung’s recent ride on results these last few years has been a right roller coaster. Having cemented its dominance in the Android market place very early on, the electronics giant began to falter with its Galaxy S5 hardware in 2014. Things began to improve with the S6 last year. 2016 however, is proving to be a proper return to form thanks to the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.
Following last month’s quarterly earnings report which proved to be higher than expected, Samsung has another win under its belt: market dominance in the USA. The news comes courtesy of Counterpoint Research, a Hong Kong-based firm that studies the industry. It found that in March, Samsung had obtained 28.8% of sales in the US smartphone market, making it the first time in 11 months – i.e. April 2015 – since it occupied the coveted leading position.
According to Counterpoint, the “survey implies 10 million units were shipped from Samsung. The company has already realized healthy sell-through globally in March, which is 25% higher than S6 series in its launch month. The Galaxy S6 faced strong competition from an immense upgrade cycle to the iPhone 6. This year, however, iPhone 6S demand has waned in March and the S7 has been the chief benefactor.”
Adding further insight, Counterpoint’s Research Director in China, James Yan, commented that,
Last year, demand for the Galaxy S6 Edge model was high but because of supply constraints, Samsung lost the window of opportunity. However, this year the sales mix is almost 47% Edge vs 53% flat models, thanks to a better supply situation for the popular curved edge display model. In addition, there has been a greater adoption to the edge display by consumers. However, we believe the S7 series will still face an uphill task in China as it will compete against numerous Android flagships with a similar dual edge display such as vivo’s Xplay5 Elite and new flagships from HUAWEI — the Ascend P9 and Mate 8 models.
On the whole, sales for Samsung are up 30% in the US, 20% in Western Europe, and 10% in China compared with where they were during the same point last year when the Korean conglomerate released the radically redesigned Galaxy S6 handset.
Apple thus slid to second with 23% of the market. Declining iPhone sales have been widely reported around the globe for Q1 2016, with even LeEco’s CEO getting in on the antagonizing action.
LG came in third with 17.1% of the market. Because its flagship G5 was not available during the month of March, and smartphone sales for the company slowed in the first quarter on the whole, it is expected the market share will climb when results for April are calculated.
Curiously enough, as Business Korea reported, the Chinese OEMs were markedly far from the top, with ZTE coming in with a 6.6% market share, Alcatel with 4.5%, and HUAWEI with a meager 1% market share. This stands in stark contrast the results for the Chinese market, however such may be expected given the differences between markets as well as home-court advantage and pricing factors.
Samsung has shown a substantial ‘recovery’ of sorts in the weeks following the launch of its Galaxy S7, and the effects are shaping not only the company’s own profit picture, but also various markets around the world. The US has always been a stronghold for Samsung’s Galaxy flagships however. As a final bit of added commentary on the matter Counterpoint’s Research Director Jeff Fieldhack said,
The US is a key & very strong market for Samsung where there is high percentage of premium devices sold like the Galaxy S7 series. Moving the launch to early March was a great strategy for Samsung.Carriers and national retailers were all looking to drive store traffic during the seasonally slow first quarter. Samsung’s S7 series secured the hero promo spot with very attractive bundles which included VR headsets, buy-one-get-one deals, tablets and even televisions which really drove healthy sell through.”
Despite all the good news, it remains to be seen just what will happen as the year progresses. It’s entirely possible that Samsung will continue its more-or-less world domination with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge devices, however things could change once data regarding LG’s G5 and HTC’s 10 start coming into play. Likewise, the release of flagships from rivals in Asia including Sony and HUAWEI may see additional changes to the market.
Still, the success of the Galaxy S7 may bode extremely well for the pending release of the Galaxy Note 6 which is rumored to be including some of the key features of the aforementioned smaller flagship, including microSD support and water resistance. Other ideas being tossed around the internet include 6GB of RAM and USB Type-C support.
What do you think? Are you surprised Samsung has retaken the lead, or does it not surprise you in the slightest? Leave your comments below!