Are Apple and Samsung Losing their Market share?

Apple and Samsung are kingpins in the smartphone sector. For about 10 years, they have been the dominant force, and no one thinks these giants will be toppled anytime soon.

However, according to reports published by IT researchers Gartner, there appears to be an increasing growth for lower-end smartphones. Other brands like Huawei and Oppo among others seem to have had enough time to learn from Apple and Samsung, and now they want to take a huge share of the market too.

In the last quarter, Gartner reported that there was a modest improvement on the smartphone sales by Samsung. That was a 7% increase in the number of units Samsung sold, and it translates into ten basis point improvement. That is not an outstanding yearly improvement, but it surely is better than the alternative.

The report, however, shows that in the first quarter of the year, Samsung lost some ground in comparison to the previous year. Its market share dropped to 20.7%, down from 23.3%. The fact that they have prevented such from happening in the 2nd quarter can still be taken as a good sign.

However, the picture is even more alarming when it comes to Apple. Even though their market share grew by 6.6% in the 2nd quarter, Apple’s number of sales fell a bit. It was recorded as a 12.1% market share down from 12.9% in the previous year, something which just extends its somewhat downward curve. This is because 2016’s share was also a drop from 2015’s, which was recorded as 14.6%. With Apple having controlled the high-end smartphone market for the better part of the last decade, this is a curious and alarming trend.

“Smartphone Market share” Source: Gartner

On the other side, it seems like the other brands, notably Huawei and Oppo, have started enjoying significant growth in the market share. Huawei has had a steady improvement in from 8.0% in the second quarter of 2015, to 8.9% in 2016 and then 9.8% in 2017. A similar trend seems to apply to the fourth competitor, Oppo.

These two have however taken advantage of places like Asia, a region which has experienced a boost in demand for smartphones in the second quarter of the year.

“Smartphone Market share” Source: CNBC

The US Market

However, Samsung and Apple still have a commanding lead in the crucial US market. Apple has been the ruler for quite some time, but Samsung seems to have toppled them in the last quarter. According to data released by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, “Samsung regained the top sales spot in the USA in the three-month period ending in May 2017, with market share rising to 36.2% from 32.9% during the previous period.” According to the same report, Apple’s market share came in at 34 percent, which is up 4.7 percentage points from last year.

However, according to DigitalTrends, between November of last year and January of this year, LG has quietly managed to win more than 10% of the United States’ smartphone market share.

Huawei, on the other hand, has been struggling to make a dent in the US despite significantly growing in other regions. They are now looking to beef up their partnership with AT&T, and the Telecomm giant is expected to carry a Huawei Flagship in 2018. This is a huge step because even though the company is position 3 in the US market, it is yet to have one of its top-tier devices on a US carrier.

How these market share trends continue to pan out is something to watch.

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