Commentary
6/30/2015
11:30 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary

Samsung Takes Smartphone Lead From Apple

Samsung has regained the US smartphone crown thanks to strong enough sales of the Galaxy S6. However, iPhone 6 sales are still strong.



6 Top Programming Languages For Mobile Development
6 Top Programming Languages For Mobile Development
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Samsung and Google's Android platform have wrested market share from Apple and its iOS platform in recent months. Buoyed by the Galaxy S6, Samsung was able to reclaim its lead over Apple in the US and other markets.

In the three-month period ending in May, Android increased its share of the US market by 2.8 percentage points to 64.9%, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. That leaves Apple with a bit under 35%, when BlackBerry and Windows Phone's presence -- or lack thereof -- is accounted for.

In Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, however, Android adoption dropped 2.9 percentage points where it ceded share back to Apple.

Samsung made gains in the US thanks to the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones. Samsung was able to grab 55% of all Android handsets sales in the US in the three-month period ending in May, up from 52% in the period ending in April.

The Apple iPhone 6 was the best-selling handset during the period, but the Galaxy S5 -- last year's phone -- ranked second, says Kantar, and the Galaxy S6 ranked third. The S5's presence in the top three is likely due to steep discounts following the S6's arrival. Samsung's share of the US market had been down by as much as 1.6 percentage points compared to the year-ago period, but is now down only 0.5 percentage points.

(Image: Stephen Krow/iStockphoto)

(Image: Stephen Krow/iStockphoto)

Apple, for a few months, stole the US smartphone crown from Samsung with huge sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Sales have begun to slow, however, as the next-generation iPhone announcement nears.

Samsung wasn't the only Android maker to see improvements.

Kantar says LG nearly doubled its US market share year-over-year. LG has flooded the US market with a wide range of handsets -- a strategy once employed by Samsung. Samsung dramatically reduced the number of phones it makes as it concentrates on the profit-stuffing flagship designs.

Samsung and LG have had a good 2015 so far, but the news isn't so good for their competitors.

[Read about the best Google apps for your iPhone.]

"Other tier-one Android players, such as HTC and Motorola, had a more difficult period, with their share decreasing both year-over-year and period-over-period, raising hopes for competitors -- such as Huawei and Sony, who have yet to wow US consumers -- that share could be up for grabs," Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, wrote in a June 30 statement.

Apple may be battling Samsung in the US and Europe, but it is racing neck-and-neck with Huawei and Xiaomi in China. All three companies are within 0.5 percentage points of one another, with respect to marketshare.

"China has become the most interesting market for mobile, both in terms of the importance it plays in a vendor's success, and its role as an incubator of new brands that quickly gain global status." Milanesi concluded.

Things are expected to heat up again for Apple in September, where the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will likely make their debut.

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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