Samsung Takes The #1 Smartphone Spot — As The Apple Machine Spins Up


A year can make a big difference to a corporate storyline.

This time last year, battery issues in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 created a series of unfortunate problems that resulted in a ban on the devices by the FAA, an expensive recall and damage to Samsung’s share price in the aftermath. Overall, the saga of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 had shaved $14.3 billion from Samsung’s market cap.

Fast forward 12 months.

According to research out from Kantar Worldpanel, Samsung is now the number one smartphone brand in the U.S. when it comes to market share — and Apple sits in second place.

By the Numbers

It isn’t that Apple’s market share hasn’t grown, according to Kantar Worldpanel. As of last quarter, Apple’s market share was up 4.7 percent year over year to cover 34 percent of the market.

It’s just that Samsung grew more. And by the end of Q2, the company had captured 36.2 percent of the smartphone market, up from 32.9 percent the quarter before.

Kantar’s figures also noted that though Samsung has reclaimed the crown in its never-ending battle for smartphone dominance with Apple, overall the brand has seen a drop in its market share of 1.1 percentage points over the past year. Kantar ascribed that fall-off to the Galaxy S8 performing below the levels expected by in-house experts.

“The Galaxy S8 launch helped Samsung regain the top position in the USA, but the bounce from the flagship launch was less than would be expected from a full product redesign,” Kantar noted in its release.

The report also noted that the top ten bestselling models list is dominated by Apple and Samsung — which each have five models represented. Apple still holds the number one and number two spaces, with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The Galaxy S7 and S8 represent rankings three through six on the list.

In the top five European Union markets, Android operating system phones accounted for 79.5 percent during the second quarter — a nearly 3 percent increase from the previous year, driven by particularly strong performances in Germany, Great Britain and France. The iOS also showed some increases in  Germany, France and Spain, but declines in Great Britain and Italy mean its year-over-year growth in the EU5 was largely flat.

“Samsung performed well in France in the three months ending in May 2017,” ComTech’s Global Strategic Insight Director Dominic Sunnebo noted. “The low- and mid-tier Galaxy J series and A series models enabled Samsung to compete more effectively with homegrown upstart Wiko and global challenger Huawei. However, the largest contributor to Android’s EU5 growth came from Huawei, which posted strong sales in all EU5 markets except Spain.”

So Samsung’s looking strong in Europe and is number one in the U.S., but the Apple Empire is ready to strike back with the release of the latest — and likely redesigned greatest — in iPhone advance.

But will it be ready to strike back this year?

Apple’s Production Schedule — the Rumors Abound

Though the ten-year anniversary iPhone release is one of the year’s more eagerly speculated-upon events in tech, there are almost no solid details about what the smartphone will look like, when it will go on sale, what it will cost — or what it will actually do.

But the ever-churning rumor mill got another entry this week, with news reports in Digital Trends that said the component and service suppliers in the iPhone supply chain have reported strong sales in July. Marketplace tea leaf readers take this as a sign that production for new iPhone devices is gaining momentum.

Reports indicate that three new iPhone models — two TFT LCD and one OLED model — have entered volume production.

That’s the good news.

The perhaps more worrisome news for Apple fanboys and fangirls out there is that while no production delays are expected on the LCD phones — presumably updates to the iPhone 7S and 7 Plus are also expected out this fall — the OLED model could create a demand shortage.

“The high consumer expectations for new iPhone devices will keep most component suppliers operating in high gear in the second half of 2017 and drive their monthly or quarterly sales volumes to new highs, commented the sources,” noted the Digital Times, citing “sources close to the supply chain.”

As for the redesigned iPhone 8’s shipping date?

Sources talking to Digital Trends predict iPhone assemblers Foxconn Electronics, Pegatron Technology and Wistron will see their revenues hit highs during the September through November period, which is leading them to speculate the first complete redesigned iPhone 8 devices will begin shipping this month.

So, will the new consumers clamor for iPhones? Or have enough consumers had their heads turned by the Samsung S8 to skip the Apple upgrade this year? Will it matter if the Christmas shopping season comes and goes and most consumers can’t get their hands on an iPhone? Or perhaps will Apple find a way — as always — to come through with just enough iPhones for anyone who wants one, after a few news stories have circulated that maybe there won’t be enough (so better buy one early).

Stay tuned — summer break is coming to an end, and it is going to be a very active fall season.



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