SOURCE: Kantar Worldpanel ComTech

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech

April 13, 2017 07:55 ET

Kantar: Apple Achieves Strong Share Gains, But Sales Opportunities for Samsung in the US Remain

US Smartphone Market Continues its Nine-Month Swing Towards iOS

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Apr 13, 2017) - New data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows that Android dropped three percentage points to 55.9% of smartphone sales in the US during the three months ending February 2017, marking another period of year-on-year decline that began in the second quarter of 2016. iOS accounted for 42% of smartphones sold in the US, up 3.7 percentage points from 38.3% the previous year. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus remained the top-selling smartphones in the US, where they have been in the lead since the three months ending November 2016.

"During the recent launch event for the Samsung Galaxy S8, most of the interest would customarily have been about how the latest Samsung flagship had evolved from the previous model," observed Lauren Guenveur, Consumer Insight Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. "But this year was different, and while anticipation of the S8 was still high, there was increased pressure on Samsung, due to a number of factors, including the 2016 battery issues and subsequent recall of their Galaxy Note 7. Attention was further elevated because the S8 release was delayed by a month, and this was the first time since the Galaxy S3 that the flagship announcement was not made at February's Mobile World Congress."

Nonetheless, there are clear opportunities for Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the most popular Samsung device in the US, with 15.6% of Samsung's installed base, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech as of February 2017. The Galaxy S7 followed at 11.5% and the Galaxy S6 at 11.4%. The Galaxy S7 edge accounted for 5.8%. In the last year, roughly 28% of that installed base upgraded to a new Samsung smartphone. Of the 28%, 52% opted for the Galaxy S7/S7 edge, and 10% for a Galaxy S6.

Twenty percent of Galaxy S7 owners said they planned to upgrade in the next 12 months, with 40% of Galaxy S6 owners intending to do so, and 55% of Galaxy S5 owners planning the same. Sixty-four percent of current Galaxy S6 owners said they plan to purchase Samsung again vs. 76% of Galaxy S5 owners. The next preferred brand for Galaxy S6 and S5 owners is Apple, at 15% and 12%, respectively. Brand preference numbers for the S7 are not yet available.

"Despite the expected fallout from the Note 7 troubles, Samsung announced recently that pre-orders on the Galaxy S8 were double that of the S7," Guenveur said. "For S8 pre-orders, Samsung will include the new Gear VR for free, a move that helped catapult the S7 to become the top-selling device in April and May of 2016."

Is the Galaxy S8 an iPhone killer? "Not according to the data," Guenveur reported. "Just 5% of Samsung's new customers switched from an iPhone in the last year, and 66% of those were repeat Samsung customers. Loyalty to Apple/iOS currently hovers around 93%. Samsung stands more to gain from their own installed base and other Android brands than they do from Apple."

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