In the three months ending May 2016, Samsung accounted for 37% of smartphone sales in the U.S., and Apple’s iPhone accounted for 29%, according to new data from Kantar Worldpanel. However, sales of their respective flagship models reveal a much closer competition, with the Galaxy S7/S7 Edge accounting for 16% of sales and the iPhone 6s/6s Plus at 14.6%, according to the research group.
What’s more, when Kantar looked at where these purchases are coming from, just 5% of Samsung purchases came from those switching away from Apple, while 14% of Apple purchasers came from those switching away from Samsung. In both cases, the majority of sales came from customers repurchasing and upgrading within their preferred brand. Among those intending to change devices within the next year, 88% of current Apple users and 86% of current Samsung users intend to stay loyal.
Great Britain reveals a closer race between the two brands, who together account for nearly three of every four phones sold, each with 36% of sales. Here we see the iPhone 6s and 5s as the two best-selling devices in the three months ending May 2016, followed by the Samsung Galaxy J5, and the iPhone SE.
Interestingly, in both the US and UK markets, Samsung and Apple claim the entire top 10 list of smartphones sold. Only when expanding our view to the top 20 do we begin to see brands such as LG (in the US) and Sony (in the UK) make an appearance. These markets have also seen smartphone sales flatten or drop in the latest year, as fewer new consumers are available and consumers are upgrading at a slower pace.
In China, the world’s largest smartphone market, Samsung was the top brand in the country’s urban areas at this point two years ago, as of the three months ending in May 2014. Then Xiaomi emerged as the overall leader until Apple gained a particularly strong boost from the iPhone 6 and Chinese New Year in early 2015. Since that point, Apple and Huawei have competed for the top-brand slot in urban China, with formerly top brand Samsung falling from a high of 34% to just 9% in the latest quarter ending in May 2016.