Apple Takes Smartphone Sales Crown From Samsung

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Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has surpassed rival Apple Inc. to become the highest-selling smartphone maker in the U.S. for the first time in three years.

The data, from Strategy Analytics Inc. and first reported by The Korea Herald, has Samsung accounting for 33.7% of the U.S. smartphone market from July to September, up 6.7% over the same quarter in 2019. Apple sat in second place with a 30.2% share, followed by LG Electronics Inc. with a 14.7% share.

Sales of Samsung’s mid-tier and budget smartphones along with the launch of flagship devices, including the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Z Fold 2, are behind the company’s increased market share. The late launch of Apple’s iPhone 12 is also noted as possibly helping Samsung increase its market share. The iPhone 12 is traditionally released in September but was released in October this year because of manufacturing delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 loomed over the entire market in the quarter, with Strategy Analytics saying in a report summary that overall U.S. smartphone sales were down 9% year-over-year.

That LG came in at third place in the U.S. market is notable because the device maker has not normally ranked that highly. According to Phone Arena, the brand has found success in recent times thanks to its updated budget and midrange product lineup. Models such as the LG Wing and an upcoming rollable device are said to have garnered a lot of attention as well.

Globally, Samsung continues its lead as the world’s largest smartphone maker in a market Strategy Analytics described a roaring back as much of the world exited the first COVID-19 wave that suppressed sales in the first half of the year. For the third quarter, Samsung held a 21.9% global market share, followed by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. on 14.1% and Xiaomi Corp. with a 12.7% share. Apple sat in fourth place with a 11.9% market share.

What the future brings from the smartphone market is at best guesswork at the moment, since COVID-19 still affects global markets, with much of Europe returning to lockdowns.

Whether Samsung can maintain its lead in the U.S. is relative to sales of the iPhone 12. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook described demand for the iPhone 12 as strong and said sales were “off to a great start” last week. But a report from The Street Nov. 5 noted that Apple is struggling to obtain chips for the devices, meaning it could be facing supply shortages during the holiday season.

Photo: Samsung

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