In the three months ending May 2016, Samsung accounted for 37% and Apple 29% of smartphone sales in the US, according to the latest sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. At the same time, sales of the two companies’ flagship models revealed a closer race, with the Galaxy S7 S7 Edge accounting for 16% of sales, and the iPhone 6s 6s Plus at 14.6%.
“When we look at where these brand purchases are coming from, just 5% of Samsung purchases came from people moving away from Apple, while 14% of Apple buyers came from those switching from Samsung,” said Lauren Guenveur, Consumer Insight Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “The majority of sales were from customers repurchasing and upgrading within their preferred brand. Among those intending to change devices in the next year, 88% of current Apple users and 86% of current Samsung users intend to stay loyal.”
LG emerged as a serious competitor in the US, capturing 15.1% sales, and contributing to Android’s total share — which increased by 3.6 percentage points to 68.5% in the US. Huawei, which hopes to become the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, accounted for less than 1% of sales in the US.
In Europe’s five largest markets — Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain — the Android ecosystem accounted for 76.5% of smartphones sold during the three months ending May 2016, gaining 6.0 percentage points from one year earlier. In China, Android accounted for nearly four out of five smartphones purchased, and captured 68.5% of sales in the US.
When measured from a brand rather than OS perspective, Apple is second across Europe, China, and the US. The iPhone SE cracked the list of top ten smartphones sold in the US, Great Britain, France, and China during the latest three-month period, despite being heavily supply-constrained and available for only two months.
Huawei is the third-largest smartphone brand behind Samsung and Apple in Europe’s largest markets, growing 7.4% year-on-year to account for 12.5% of smartphone sales in the three months ending May 2016. In Italy and Spain, Huawei’s strongest EU markets, the company now accounts for nearly 21% of sales, with the P8 Lite remaining one the best-selling phones during the most recent period.
In China, 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.
Unlike in Western markets where brand loyalty is high and fewer consumers defect for other brands, loyalty remains low in China. For current top brand Huawei, just 19% of consumers were repurchasing the brand, while 24% switched over from Samsung. For Apple, 42% were repeat purchasers, and 25% came from Samsung. Xiaomi has not captured as many former Samsung consumers as the other two brands (9%), primarily getting consumers from repeat purchases (45%), and with 12% of Xiaomi’s new customers switched over from Huawei.