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Apple Catches Up with Samsung on Global Sales


Market research authority Gartner, reports Apple had a good second quarter this year, making strides to catch up to Samsung in the global smart phone race. Apple sold 48 million units, an increase of 36%, while Samsung slipped back 5.6% in the same quarter.  

Despite the media’s optimism towards Gartner’s findings, Samsung maintains a strong grip on the global market. Samsung’s loss of less than 6% last quarter has certainly not gone without notice, however, the dip is less disturbing when compared to the number of units sold, which is more than 20 million over Apple—an impressive 72 million units worldwide. 

Not to be insensitive, but the hype isn’t that interesting. Maybe it makes people feel better knowing that Apple hasn’t given up in the smart phone fight, but truth be told, the numbers tell a different story. 


What the Research Says

Apple’s global market share floats around 12%. Meanwhile, Samsung is sitting comfortably at 21.9% even after the dip in units sold during the second quarter. 

Apple’s biggest threat to other smart phone brands is the price that defines the high-end segment of its mobile phone market. That’s Apple’s niche: slick, expensive, smart devices. They have yet to address a vastly growing segment of consumers that prefer bargain to luxury. 

Instead of considering alternatives to high-priced products, Apple went head-to-head with Samsung by increasing the screen size on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus—once the distinct advantage to Samsung’s latest Galaxy product line. The increase in Apple’s second quarter sales is likely related to this change, which would have directly squeezed out Samsung.  

Chinese companies like Huawei and Xiaomi are also doing a fair share of squeezing, offering budget alternatives to both Samsung and Apple smart phones in the Chinese market—the biggest country for smart phone sales. 

Gartner also reported that smart phone sales were the lowest they’ve been since 2013. While growth is steady in counties supporting new infrastructure, in places like China where that infrastructure has been established and fewer first time buyers are accessible, the natural trend is to slow. This will likely be the case in any budding market that gets saturated: there’s always going to be a limit to new users.  

So, kudos to Apple for selling more smart phones, but it’s going to have to do a lot more to surpass Samsung, if it’s ever going to win the smart phone race. 



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