Apple widens its lead on Samsung in the US

From comScore market research firm:

133.7 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (57 percent mobile market penetration) during the three months ending in February, up 8 percent since November. Apple ranked as the top OEM with 38.9 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers (up 3.9 percentage points from November). Samsung ranked second with 21.3 percent market share (up 1 percentage point), followed by HTC with 9.3 percent share, Motorola with 8.4 percent and LG with 6.8 percent.

And Apple is making ground on Google:

Google Android ranked as the top smartphone platform with 51.7 percent market share, while Apple’s share increased 3.9 percentage points to 38.9 percent. BlackBerry ranked third with 5.4 percent share, followed by Microsoft (3.2 percent) and Symbian (0.5 percent).

So, let me get this straight. Apple is widening the gap on Samsung, but analysts think Apple should be more like Samsung. Not only that, it’s closing the gap between iOS and Android, even though it’s competing with hundreds of Android devices.

And Apple is losing how?

  • Also, don’t forget Apple is doing this while raking in the vast majority of the profit in the industry. Samsung is spending close to 6 times as much as Apple in marketing related expenses just to stay in sight of Apple’s tail lights.

    • Dennis Forbes

      I don’t think any reader of this website forgot those talking points.

      • Phil

        Sorry, I’m new here 🙂

    • Phil

      Your point about Samsung’s spending on marketing is well taken. Here in the UK, Samsung is giving away a free Galaxy Tab 2 with a Samsung galaxy “Ace” phone on a 2 year contract. Any other industry, they would be sanctioned for “dumping”. Even with these tactics, Apple still properly kicks their butt.

      • r00fus

        Pray tell, why isn’t what Samsung is doing considered dumping?

        • Phil

          It seems that dumping is a valid tactic in consumer electronics. HP can give tablets away with PC’s; Samsung can give Tab 2’s away with washing machines. Good for the consumer? Perhaps, but that’s not why it’s done. It’s done to take sales away from competitors and to give the impression that their product is selling better than it is.

      • That’s true also in Portugal and in many other European countries, they give away so many Galaxy phones…

    • Bri Fi

      Closer to ten times as much 😉 :

      And they made over 3 times as much money as HTC, RIM, Nokia and samsung combined last year:

      The shocker from that chart though is that they made roughly 20% more than Microsoft, Facebook, Google, eBay, Yahoo and Amazon combined.

  • Well, to be fair, Apple’s share in the US is not representative for the world-wide share. In most markets where carrier subsidies are rare or non-existent, they are far behind Samsung (or low-cost alternatives), as the addressable part of the population for a $850+ device (that is what an iPhone 5 costs in many countries) is severely limited for now.

    Still, as @Martin Johnson said, the more important point is profits and Samsung is behind in this regard, in the US and globally.

    • Phil

      Whilst The majority of Chinese cannot afford the iPhone, China will soon be Apple’s biggest market. Go figure!

      • holycalamity

        Because a minority of Chinese people is still a fuckload of people?

        • preston

          There are more of whatever we consider middle class consumers to be in china than English speakers in the rest of the world. No matter how many times I look at the population numbers, it never seems real. Someone once put it in perspective by saying if we put the world population in one room, the person on your left and right would speak Chinese. What a market!

    • Regardless of how Samsung is doing, Apple’s market share worldwide has been steadily increasing. They are not losing worldwide marketshare, though it does fluctuate quarterly and monthly.

      Overall, Apple is on a steady increase. Android simply swooped in and consumed the entire low-end market by replacing Symbian. Every iPhone release coincides with a marked dip in Android market share just afterward and a peak just before it when iPhone sales stall.

      Of course, take this all with a grain of salt since only Apple and Nokia are reporting actual smartphone sales and the Android numbers are all estimates that have not been vetted with reality for at least two years.

    • mhikl

      “Well, to be fair, Apple’s share in the US is not representative for the world-wide share. “

      True, dreyfus2, but the NA market is a mature market and that may be the pattern. Apple, from what I have read, may be close to performing the same act in Europe. So many of Samsung phones are cheap and function poor but they appeal to those of low income and to many who do not want or need a true smart internet phone.

      Time will tell but in the meantime, Apple must be doing things right that shows in the growth in its back pocket.

    • orthorim

      I agree with this. Both markets – subsidized and un-subsidized – are equally important.

      If Apple wants to compete in market share – rather than just profit share as they’re doing now – then they need to cover all their bases. They did that successfully with the iPod and I kind of think that that’s their long game – it just hasn’t kicked in yet as Apple was mainly concerned with ramping fast enough, with producing enough devices to cover demand, and with opening more distribution channels.

      Their distribution channels right now are still severely limited in Asia – you will find 1 shop that sells and iPhone but 100 that sells you any number of Android devices. Apple is still working on that, and I think they’re starting to crack it recently in India, finally allowing independent small retailers to sell the phone.

      Same in China. There’s Apple stores and rip-off resellers (which bought their wares from the Apple stores at retail price). But once they get a proper distribution to small mom and pop businesses in place – watch out. iPhone sales are going to literally explode.

      I mean think about it – I walk through the mall here in SE Asia. I see about 200 tiny one-man shops selling shiny Androids. And one big box store with an Apple dealer license selling the iPhone (along with Androids). There’s a huge disparity in sales space here. Unlock that and it’s virtually guaranteed you’ll sell 10, 20, and 30% more.

  • ort888

    It’s like a political talking point. It doesn’t matter what the truth is. Just keep saying something over and over and over and over… until eventually people start believing it.

    • SSShu

      But why should they change their tactics though? It seems to be working.

      • They need a dramatic clash between economic titans to create interesting news. Nokia isn’t bringing it.

    • SockRolid

      Unless you’re the Tea Party.

  • Tvaddic

    Analysts want Apple to change internationally where there are no contracts. It is a tougher decision to buy an iPhone there, when there are smart phones that are hundreds of dollars cheaper. But if Apple did that, analysts would complain about their lower profit margin. Wall Street is a game of follow the leader, that is nearly impossible to win.

    • Phil

      Apple provides interest free credit where contracts are not available.

      • Tvaddic

        I get what you are saying, but you still have to pay it. People buy the cheap shampoo to save 3 dollars, let alone 300.

        • Phil

          Even so, growth in these markets for Apple is very strong, especially China and India.

          • orthorim

            Yes, Apple’s running a new strategy in India, and it’s now working.

      • orthorim

        Erm, no, they don’t. At least not here in SE Asia. Buy it full price, or don’t buy it. No financing offered.

        And what about places like Brazil or Russia where an iPhone costs $1,000+…

        • Phil

          They do offer financing in India, but only for businesses. Apple and Foxconn are opening factories in Brazil in order to avoid the huge import taxes in that country. Who knows why iPhone costs so much in Russia? Not me 🙂

    • preston

      I’m still searching for a country that does not have contracts for mobile phones. Information available online is light and rarely in English. Covered most of Europe and APAC in my search so far.

      • In Thailand the vast majority prepay for time, off contract. That’s about 75 million phones. Apple’s online store sells the 5 starting at 23,000 baht (nearly US$800).

        Incomes, even for educated professionals, are a small fraction of what they are in the US. The iPhone is held in high regard but is simply out of reach for most people. A less expensive, contract-free phone would do extraordinarily well. But Apple had better hurry. Samsung’s perception is changing and people are starting to think it’s good enough, if not just as good.

    • orthorim

      Nope, Wall Street is a game of fleece the suckers.

  • SuperMatt

    All I can say is, that the stock price will eventually reflect reality instead of the crazy “Samsung is kicking Apple’s butt” fantasy. At that time, people buying now will be raking in the bucks, and the people buying contracts to short the stock will be stuck holding worthless paper.

    • deviladv

      Stock prices rarely reflect reality, best not to think about it unless you are investing directly 🙂

      • orthorim

        What I’ve learned about investing in AAPL over the years is – buy, hold, and pay no attention to it. It can be hard at times, such as just right now. But there were times where it was even harder. Like when it dropped overnight by 50% for absolutely no reason (that was a while ago, kids).

        Of course you could make money if you could somehow predict which direction the traders are going to crazy in – but that seems to be up to completely irrational decisions and total BS media reporting so I don’t even try. I’ll stick with Buffet & the performance of the company, the stock price usually eventually catches up.

  • ChKen

    It’s probably better than that. ComScore uses a 3-month rolling average.

  • albertkinng

    People need to understand that Apple never wanted to be number one. they are willing to be happy to still be the minority but with the best product in the market. Thats why Android is no competition… Android needs to compete with Blackberry or Firefox OS but not with Apple.

    • Android does an amazing job of selling iPhones.

    • orthorim

      That is true in part and I’d have fully agreed a year ago. Now, Android is so close in functionality that IMO Apple needs some lower priced products.

      Look at it this way, I get a huge beautiful screen and I can do facebook, take pictures, text, and use whatsapp – thats true for the iPhone but also an increasing number of lower and lower cost Android phones.

  • WSJ Headline:

    Over 61% of Americans reject iPhones.

  • The thing that surprises ME the most about this is that almost 700,000 people are still using Symbian.

    • jameskatt

      That is DOWN from 400 MILLION people using Symbian only 5 years ago.

      Once all of the Symbian phones break down, there were be no one left using them.

    • Android is the new Symbian.

  • Phil

    I think the big question is, has Android market share peaked in the US?

  • AAPL is down, of course.

  • Analysts think that the market in the US is saturated, thus apple should be more like Samsung overseas. And they are right, the only reason that apple isn’t kicking everyone’s ass worldwide is due to the lack of commitment overseas. Their commitment to Latin America and Asia is pathetic, to say the least.

  • kibbles

    but open

  • blairh

    It’s common sense that a 5″ iPhone would be a huge seller and makes a lot of sense. If that’s what you mean by, “be more like Samsung” then I say a resounding yes that Apple should be more like Samsung.

    Keep the 4″ model. Create a 5″ model. Not only that, phablets are here to stay. I’d love to see a 5.5″ iPhone at some point. I see Note II’s everywhere now.

    • You have to remember that people said Apple was doomed, when demand for the iPhone 4S decreased int he weeks prior to the iPhone 5 announcement.

      Apple news is usually spun around to make it sound as Apple is the one losing in whatever metric the news is talking about.

      Take performance as an example – Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5 are the same “generation”.

      When the Galaxy S3 was released, everyone (part of the Anti-Apple crowd) raved how much better it performed than the iPhone 4S – which was around 8 months old at that time and was not the competitor to the S3 but tot the S2!

      When the iPhone 5 was released and destroyed the S3 in the performance metric – it was deemed very late to the game (though it was released less than four months later!) and the performance increase was mostly ignored.

      Now the Galaxy S4 will be released more than seven months after the release of the iPhone 5 and guess what – people are raving how it is destroying the iPhone 5 in the performance of the device.

      Again ignoring that Apple’s competitor to the S4 will be the iPhone 5S! And guess what – if the iPhone 5S will have much better performance – that will be ignored, again…

      So Samsung was outselling Apple – the company which sold THREE devices at that time, the 4S, the 4 and the 3GS – in the quarter DIRECTLY after the release of the S3 and it was deemed a success and Apple doomed etc..

      Apple is now outselling about FIFTY Samsung devices – only TWO of them flagship devices and only ONE of them to be replaced in the coming weeks – and that’s the SECOND quarter after the release of the iPhone 5, when demand should have decreased.

      About phablets: They are not selling that well, Samsung sold about 25 million of them by now (Note 1 PLUS Note 2), that’s probably what Apple is still selling of the iPhone 4 in two good quarters.

    • preston

      I agree. It may sound silly but, we compete for who has the biggest phone. I’m only slightly in the running with an iPad mini + VoIP / Skype. I won’t be happy till I need to carry a bag to hold my dinner plate sized phone.

    • orthorim

      Yep Apple needs a cheap 5″ iPhone.

      The iPhone kicked off the trend to larger screens, and now it’s a follower.

      I once thought that large screen phones would remain the territory of geeks and tech nerds. Boy was I wrong on that one. Now the vast majority of huge screen phones I see in the street is carried by women. The secret: Women have purses which can very easily stow these devices.

      Just right now typing this in a Starbucks and opposite me is a petite fashionable young woman hacking away on her SGS3. Or is it a Note? Not sure. But it’s massive.

  • jameskatt

    Does this mean Samsung has stopped being cool?

  • Fatty Bunter

    It’s not hard to understand if you compare it to everything else on the stock market. It’s all about perception, and if everyone starts saying Apple is getting stale, the market will reflect that. Truth matters not. I’m sure you realize this.

  • Best WSJ Headline EVER:

    “Desperate Apple forced to increase sales to maintain profits”

  • Who does Tim Cook have to choke so Apple can thrive like Samsung?