Apple Up Samsung Down But Big Korean Still Top In Smartphone Market
The research conducted by Strategic Analytics reveals that Apple shipped 74.5 million smartphones in the last quarter to capture 19.6 percent market share, this is 18 percent up from 12 months ago, Samsung on the other hand shipped 74.5 million smartphones also capturing 19.6 percent share, this was 30% down from the same period a year-ago.
Despite the fall Samsung remains the number one smartphone player globally in 2014 after shipping 317.2 million smartphone. This was 165% more than Apple’s 192.7 million.
The global market surged to 1.28 billion units.
Samsung’s full year-share came in at 24.7 percent compared to Apple’s 15 percent, Lenovo-Motorola’s 7.2 percent, Huawei’s 4.8 percent, and 47.3 percent for all other brands.
“Apple’s new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models are proving wildly popular in China, Australia and Europe,” said executive director Neil Mawston of Apple’s fourth-quarter surge.
Samsung “continues to face intense competition from Apple at the higher-end of the smartphone market, from Huawei in the middle-tiers, and from Xiaomi and others at the entry-level,” he said.
Samsung might have to consider taking over rivals, such as Blackberry, to revive growth in 2015, he added. Global smartphone shipments grew 31 percent in the quarter to a record 380.1 million and grew 29.6 percent for the full year to 1.28 billion, the company said.
Samsung, which has seen its global market share stripped away by low-cost Chinese handset makers, reported a 64% drop in operating profit from mobile phones on Thursday.
Mobile phones, which accounted for 75% of Samsung’s overall operating profit in the first quarter of 2014, now delivers just 37% of total earnings.
Samsung is hoping to reassert its leadership with its successor device, which is expected to be called the Galaxy S6. It will be revealed at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona.
Samsung’s mobile operating profit margin during the last three months of the year was just 7.5%, a touch higher than the third quarter’s margin of 7.1% but well below the 19.8% margin that Samsung’s mobile unit enjoyed as recently as the first quarter of 2014.
In contrast, Apple, which has long championed a strategy of targeting premium consumers with its high-end iPhones, saw its gross margin rise to 39.9% in its fiscal first quarter ended December from 37.9% a year earlier. That was largely because of the success of its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which borrowed from Samsung’s large-screen smartphone strategy.
While the two companies are now neck and neck in smartphone sales, in many ways Samsung and Apple are competing for different consumers, says Mr. Kang of Counterpoint.
“Samsung should not even be trying to compete with Apple — it’s a distraction,” Mr. Kang argues.
In the Android market that Samsung still leads in globally, Mr. Kang argues: “The majority of those users don’t want to spend that much money anymore.”