Is Samsung losing out to the iPhone?

Published June 9th, 2015 - 01:58 GMT

Samsung’s smartphone sales continued to decline in 2015, with its market share dropping to 24.2 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to 30.4 percent a year earlier, latest data released by the industry’s top research company showed.

The Korean electronics powerhouse remains the number one smartphone manufacturer in terms of sales, selling a little over 81 million mobile phones to end users, though still lower than last year’s sales of 85 million, according to Gartner Inc.

However, its strong rival, Apple, is fast catching up, selling at least 60 million units, surpassing last year’s sales of 43 million. Consequently, Apple’s market share expanded from 15.3 percent in March last year to 17.9 percent in the same period this year.

Apple’s strong performance has been driven by strong demand for iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6 units, particularly from Chinese and American consumers.

"Apple’s extension into more Asian markets helped close the gap with Samsung globally. In the same period last year, there was a difference of more than 40 million units with Samsung. This difference has been halved within one year to just over 20 million units,” said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner.

Samsung Electronics has been holding the crown as the number one smartphone brand since 2011. Its performance reached its peak in the third quarter of 2013, but has been losing its market share to Apple in recent months.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Apple snatched the top sales position for the first time by selling 74. 8 million units, narrowly surpassing Samsung’s 73 million smartphones sold.

Gupta, however, noted that Samsung’s decline rate will be slower than that seen in recent quarters, with sales of its new S6 smartphone starting in the second quarter of 2015 and its Galaxy Alpha receiving good response.

“Despite a weak first quarter globally, Samsung’s performance returned to growth quarter-on-quarter, with an 11 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2014,” said Gupta.

Analysts have speculated that Samsung has been struggling to beat Apple in the high-end market and the new breed of Chinese phone manufacturers at the low-end.

Worldwide smartphone sales increased by 19.3 percent during the first quarter to 336 million units.

The fastest growing regions were emerging Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and the Middle East and North Africa.

By Cleofe Maceda


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