Samsung reinforces No.1 U.S. smartphone ranking

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Samsung reinforces No.1 U.S. smartphone ranking

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Although Samsung Electronics this week lost its No. 1 ranking in China to Xiaomi, the world’s largest smartphone maker maintained its top position in the United States during the second quarter.

According to a recent report by Counterpoint Research, a Hong Kong-based IT market analytics company, Samsung had a 36.1 percent market share in the United States, compared to 33.9 percent during the same period last year.

That was 6.4 percentage points ahead of Apple, which had a 29.7 percent share, and 4.4 percentage points more than Samsung’s lead over its main rival last year.

LG Electronics ranked third with 11 percent of the market, followed by ZTE and Motorola at 4.5 percent each.

The report cited the Galaxy S5 released in May as the major contributor to Samsung’s success, with sales 50 percent higher than the Galaxy S4. It described the S5’s performance in the United States as “ironic,” noting that sales of the flagship smartphone have been disappointing in other markets.

Apple’s iPhone 5S was the world’s best-selling smartphone in the second quarter, despite being released last year, according to data released by Counterpoint Research in mid-July.

Despite the sustained popularity of the iPhone 5S, Samsung was No. 1 in the U.S. market thanks to its marketing efforts, according to the report.

“[The] U.S. market was thus the lone bright spot for Samsung this quarter as market shares slipped globally and especially across key markets such as India and China,” said Neil Shah, primary author of the report.

Samsung also was No. 1 in the overall mobile phone market during the April-June period.

However, Shah suggested it will not be easy for Samsung to sustain such success in the second half with Apple scheduled to unveil its iPhone 6 next month.

Apple’s iPhone sales in the United States fell about 5 percent, but the report explained that the fall was because “consumers began to hold their purchases for the upcoming model.”

The report also emphasized that Apple recently gained in China and other markets, with sales growing 58 percent year-on-year during the second quarter.

The heated competition between Samsung and Apple, which together have accounted for more than 60 percent of U.S. smartphone sales for the past 10 quarters, is becoming a “zero-sum game,” wrote Shah.

He predicted the trend will continue as the two smartphone giants face off with their new releases, the Note 4 and iPhone 6.

“But it could be difficult for Samsung if Apple replicates its strategy of launching multiple versions of iPhones [4.7 inches and 5.5 inches] twice a year,” he said.

BY KIM JI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]




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