iPhone market share continues to fall, but it’s Samsung feeling the pressure


While Android reaching almost 70 percent of smartphone sales across 12 key markets is the headline, with iOS falling to just under 24 percent, it is Samsung feeling the pressure, says Kantar, reporting sales figures for the final quarter of 2013.

After years of accelerated growth, Samsung is now coming under real pressure in most regions, with European share down by 2.2 percentage points to 40.3% and in China its share ended the year flat at 23.7% […]

Apple has lost share in most countries compared with this time last year, but importantly it has held strong shares in key markets including 43.9% in USA, 29.9% in Great Britain and 19.0% in China … 

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We’ve observed before that overall market share is not a particularly significant metric for Apple. I won’t repeat the points I made in an earlier piece, but the tl;dr version would be this chart:


Apple’s focus is on the high-end, and on profits, rather than sales figures and revenue.

Android’s growth has been driven largely by local brands like Xiaomi and Huawei in China. Xiaomi came from nowhere in 2010 to become the market leader by the end of last year. While Apple will be keeping a watchful eye, it is Samsung who has most to fear from greater Android competition, says Kantar.

Samsung recently missed analyst sales estimates, believed due to a combination of increased competition from Apple at the high end and from local manufacturers at the low end.

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  1. shm1ck83 - 9 years ago

    It’s like comparing a Ferrari to a Toyota.
    Toyota is always going to win in sales numbers.

    These figures need to be comparing devices that are on par with each other in price, these android twerps with scoop up this sh*t just so they can have something to dish out.

    Also Ben on a side note, you have got the best articles. I enjoy reading everything you do, keep it up!

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      I appreciate the kind comment, thanks

    • weakguy - 9 years ago

      Not really, I say this is comparing a BMW to a Hyundai. Apple is not that rare and the company is not a jerk. Apple and BMW actually have a lot in common. If you are a gear head, you would understand.

      • shm1ck83 - 9 years ago

        It doesn’t matter what make of vehicle I used. I was making a point that Toyota would outsell Ferrari. Where did I say Apple as a company was a jerk?

    • Ming Dong - 9 years ago

      If apple is really like a Ferrari, the game’s price should match to console, like… $59.

  2. Howie Isaacks - 9 years ago

    I couldn’t care less about market share. If that’s all this competition is about, then the cheapo brands are always going to be doing well. I’m not so worried about Apple selling less iPhones than the whole Android market all together. These charts compare iOS (which is marketed by only one company) with Android as a whole. Let’s see the break down between phone makers instead. If you’re going to be so obsessed with market share, leaving that out is misleading to the people reading the chart. This is the same B.S. we’ve seen in the Mac vs Windows comparisons. Apple has proven that their goals are making great products, and big profits, not market share.

  3. brazco - 9 years ago

    Very good point! And I would add to what you said: the increasing competition under the Android devices and the China Market open for iOS. Samsung has a lot to fear so the settlement on the patents is a sign showing exactly this.

  4. P PRG - 9 years ago

    The author apparently has not heard of Japan and Canada. More selective anal-lying. What about market share in dollars instead of or better still in addition to units? Is a $649 iPhone equivalent to a $49 2G “Other” Chinese phone?

  5. rogifan - 9 years ago

    Here’s a couple questions I have. 1. How much of the Android increase is due to price sensitive customers upgrading their dumb/feature phone? And how many of these consumers were really up for grabs for Apple? 2. Which hardware OEMs are making a decent profit besides Samsung? Do we really want to see Apple getting into a race to the bottom with cheap hardware? Is that a race they could win? I doubt it. 3. What is the stickiness of Android and Windows Phone platforms? Are people buying these devices because they prefer the platform or because the devices are really cheap? How many of these companies have the brand loyalty that Apple does?

    Quite honestly I think the bigger concern is at the lower end where Chinese companies and other “white box” players can come in with really cheap hardware. I would argue Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony and Motorola are more vulnerable at that end then Apple is at the high end. IMO Apple needs to retain the premium brand and needs to continue to design and build products that people are willing to pay a premium for. Apple will never win if it gets into a race to the bottom with cheap hardware.

  6. jlword - 9 years ago

    Apple definitely has a laser focus and dedication to what it believes will make and keep them successful – high margins. By keeping their prices high and marketing thier products as luxury devices, selling more of a brand, than a superior product people will continue to buy, albeit in smaller proportions within the lager market where Nokia(Microsoft) and Samsung a thriving in offering products within reach of the less financially capable.
    Thier strategy succeeded in carving out a tiny, yet persistent, and thriving(until recently with the overall decline in desktop and laptops for all OEMs) niche market for thier PCs and Macbooks. High prices, High margins, luxury branding.
    As this strategy continues to be applied to thief mobile offerings, thier market share will likely continue to decline, but they will, like thier Macs and Macbooks, maintain a portion of the market yielding profits.
    Thier focus on protecting thier luxury brand(which has some aspects of superiority over other platforms, but also is weaker in others) will help to maintain the perception that they offer the best features and most innovative device. If they were to offer a lower priced device, ( the off focused offering of the plastic, toyish looking, colorful, less expensive 5c alongside the 5s was dangerous to the branding), their “brand” would be damaged and they could no longer ride the almost seven year old wave of thier “reinvention” of the smartphone, thier lack of something truly innovative, and the sheer “cool factor” they have which was part of Steve Jobs legacy as a savior of the company, his great stage presence and incredible marketing ability and skill at telling consumers what they want then giving it to them. Its no surprise there are rumors of poor 5c sales and rumors of its discontinuation-it’s inconsistent with what Steve Jobs told consumers the Apple and iPhone “brand” is. It’s not the sleek, expensive AND expensive looking device (even though its essential a 5s in plastic pastel pajamas) Jobs branded.
    What the decreased marketshare does note, is competitors like Windows Phone increased share in virtually every market Apple decreased in. More Windows Phones in more hands locks more users into Microsoft’s ecosystem making them an increasingly relevant player. It may turn out, especially if Sony and other OEMs join in on making Windows Phones, and Microsoft cuts licensing fees, Apple may find itself looking more akin to what it does in the PC arena if current market share trends continue, they will have a very profitable, thriving, yet tiny niche.

    • jlword - 9 years ago

      Correction…even though its essentially an iphone “5” in plastic pastel pajamas

    • jlword - 9 years ago

      Correction…even though its essentially an iphone 5 in plastic pastel pajamas

  7. tamal (@tamalm) - 9 years ago

    Is there any study that shows OS marketshare *where prices >= iPhone 4S and above*?

  8. Peter Pinto - 9 years ago

    Market shares can be interesting, but there needs to be numbers from how many handsets were actually sold. When you compare the two figures, you can then begin to evaluate how the market is moving.

    Apple has a smaller market share – but we also know that Apple has been selling a record-breaking number of 5S/5c. So, the market for smartphones as a whole has grown, but the market shares show that Apple hasn’t grown with the same speed as primarily Android. When compared to other high-end smart phone producers like Samsung and HTC, we see that Apple is selling more hand sets and earning more money.

    So, what we see here is that there is growth in the low end Android smart phones. We see consumers buying cheap smart phones. The interesting part is that those low end phones actually pack same features as the iPhone did 3-4 years ago. It’s a democratizing of the smart phone! This is a good thing, as companies will develop more services for smart phones, when more people own a smart phone.

    Apple should stay on course, developing new features that just work, keep up the deep integration between hardware and software and give consumers value for money when buying an Apple product. Personally, I’d like to see my iPhone replace my credit card. The technology is there, but we need more companies to support the tech. This is a big step, not for the tech-savvy companies in California, but when you live in Ikast in Denmark, you can add 3-4 years, before everyday use of a certain feature gains traction over here.

    Oh, and make Siri speak Danish. Can’t dictate text messages in English tbh – it just creates that social awkward feeling for the recipients (‘Why is that nerd sending a text in English? Oh, he’s using Siri’).

  9. Neil Anderson - 9 years ago

    Gasp! Apple sold less phones than all the Android makers? Isn’t that like saying BMW sold less cars than all the other car manufacturers combined?

  10. Rocwurst (@Rocwurst) - 9 years ago

    Actually, Apple sold an estimated 80 million additional iOS devices in Q4 (we’ll know for sure in a few hours). That works out at 870,000 iOS devices per day which is almost 60% of Google’s 1.5 million daily Android activations.

    Also, Apple’s iOS platform hit 700 million iOS devices in Sept (with approximately 600 million still active according to Flurry) versus Android on 1 billion activations at the time.

    However, more importantly iOS continues to obliterate Android in all the metrics that actually matter delivering 500% greater revenue to iOS developers according to Minyanville, 1,290% greater advertising ROI (Nanigans), 2-3x greater web share, 5x greater e-commerce revenue (IBM, Adobe) etc.

    As such, Google’s Android ecosystem is not doing nearly as well as raw smartphone market share figures would seem to indicate.

  11. “Market share” is junk analysis. What if you have an iPhone, AND you buy an Android device too. Does that mean Apple’s iPhone marketshare goes down?

    • jlword - 9 years ago

      Lol…yes because Android already has a larger market share so your addition of your Android device to androids market share further increases its percentage of that platforms part of the market….lol :-)
      If you bought both devices in the same quarter and all other factors remain the same then no, Apples share won’t go down but the relative percentages of each platforms share of the market will remain the same with Android on top. :-) lol

  12. Jason Piebes - 9 years ago

    “Market share” is simply what the generic analysts default to. The real story is “Profit Share”. If Apple is bagging 90% of the profit in the smartphone market, what is the cost to chase the last 10%? Considering the only manufacturer that is profitable in that last 10% is Samsung, I would say it’s pretty steep.

  13. David Lee - 9 years ago

    I love buying Apple products but this market share does worry me. I think the future is not about making money through selling hardware, instead it’ll be through other mobile-related value added services and market share does play a huge roll here.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      Again, though, it’s about market segments. iOS users spend more than Android users on everything from apps to movies. Apple is after the profitable users.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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