Apple Grabs Top Spot in Global Smartphone Market as Samsung’s Fall Continues

by Matt Klassen on March 4, 2015

The numbers are in…and they don’t look good for Samsung. As many predicted Apple has officially regained the coveted top spot in global smartphone sales, market analysis firm Gartner reported yesterday, thanks to its strong Q4 iPhone 6 sales. In the fourth fiscal quarter of 2014 Apple accounted for 20.4 percent of the global market, up from 17.8 percent the company held during the same quarter in 2013.

But the news here is not of Apple’s modest 3 percent gain, but instead Samsung’s precipitous fall, as the Korean tech giant has seen its market share plummet from 29.5 percent in 2013 to a disappointing 19.9 in Q4 2014, a staggering decline likely due in equal parts to increased competition in burgeoning markets like China and Asia, and the fact that Apple’s larger screen iPhone 6 Plus gives smartphone buyers another quality large screen option besides Android.

Truthfully though, these results were never really in question, Samsung was going to lose its grip on top spot; it was really a matter of when, not if. Earlier this year researcher Strategy Analytics had predicted that fourth quarter results would see a veritable tie between these two behemoths, with both hovering around 20 percent of the market share, but noted the same trends in momentum, Apple on the way up and Samsung on the way down.

“Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013,” Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, said. “This downward trend shows that Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure.”

As mentioned, Samsung’s recent woes are due to an untimely (and certainly accidental) two-pronged attack on the company’s key markets. On the one front, Samsung saw its attractiveness and uniqueness in the high end smartphone sector dwindle with the arrival of Apple’s latest phones.

In Q4 2014 Apple sold 74.8 million iPhones, its best quarter on record Gartner notes. The company’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were in high demand inChinaand theUS, where it saw sales increase 56 and 88 percent respectively. It was here in previous years that Samsung was able to outclass Apple with its affordably priced feature rich phones, not so anymore.

On the other front, Samsung has seen in dominance in the low end market challenged as well, with Chinese and Indian smartphone vendors in particular flooding the market with their Samsung-esque brand of feature rich affordable devices.

“Chinese vendors, such as Huawei and Xiaomi, are continuing to improve their sales in China and other overseas markets, increasing their share in the mid to low-end smartphone market,” Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, said in a press release. “Chinese vendors are no longer followers. They are producing higher quality devices with appealing new hardware features that can rival the more established players in the mobile phone market.”

Will the new Galaxy S6 line-up we saw unveiled earlier this week be able to help Samsung recover its swagger? It’s clear with these new phones that the Korean tech giant is not content to rest on its laurels, and it’s that willingness to change quickly to meet consumer demand that truly is what got Samsung to the top spot in the first place, so perhaps amidst a staggering 10 percent drop in market share there is room for optimism…not much room mind you.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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