According to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Monthly Market Pulse December report, Apple’s smartphone share in the US soared during December, a key month in the holiday season quarter. Samsung held the top spot in November boosted by healthy uptake of its new Galaxy Note 3 but Apple topped the sales charts in the crucial December month.

Apple benefitted from the late November Black Friday deals as numerous resellers sold the iPhone at a discount and the momentum continued until the Christmas season. For example, Black Friday gift cards were given out along with iPhone purchases and in addition some retailers like BestBuy, Walmart, Fry’s shaved off the price for iPhone 5s and 5c models by US$30 to as much as US$85. Sprint also had an aggressive offering for the iPhone 5c, lowering the price tag by US$100 for certain customers.

The timely marketing promotions for its refreshed iPhone portfolio helped Apple boost sales during December as the Cupertino vendor topped the market with an impressive 43% market share during the month, its highest point in 2013. As a result, Apple & Samsung combined captured almost three-fourths of the US smartphone sales during the December month.

Commenting on Apple’s performance, Neil Shah, Research Director at Counterpoint Research explains, “Without any more constraints from the supply chain, aggressive promotions, support from the retail and operator channels and unprecedented consumer demand across US, iPhone 5s sales jumped more than 25% sequentially. Effective promotions also helped Apple correct iPhone 5c inventory, bringing it to a manageable level compared to the start of the quarter.”

Mr. Shah, further added, “What we saw was a little bit surprising but essentially “calculated aggression” from Apple to ward off competition by offering so many discounts and giveaways for just a three month old portfolio, a very hard deal to resist for consumers.”

Ludolf Ebner, Partner at Counterpoint Research, notes, “Apple’s year-end holiday quarter promotions were not just confined to the US but were also seen across many developed markets including Europe, where sales also jumped sequentially during December.” Mr. Ebner, further comments, “Healthy supply-demand in Q4 2013 has helped Apple lower the channel inventory leaving sufficient room to control the channel sales in 2014; unlike the situation in early January 2013 when the channel inventory had almost doubled slowing down Apple’s sales growth during the Jan-Mar period of 2013 in USA.”

Meanwhile, the third largest smartphone vendor in US, LG, saw its share slip to 10% in December after a healthy uptick in October & November. It was however better off than other brands like Nokia or HTC. After a good traction for its low-cost ‘Moto’ portfolio in October, November, Motorola, saw its sales dipping a bit in December, partly due to the limited availability of Moto G stocks across the channels during the month.

 

Counterpoint Research - Apple 43 Percent Share in USA in Dec 2013

Source: Monthly Market Pulse December 2013

 

Methodology:

Our Monthly Market Pulse market share data is based on sell-out (sales) surveyed at major mass retailers, distributors across different markets (33 countries) by Counterpoint Research team plus sanity checked with demand side surveys & expert Analyst estimates to complete the global monthly sales database.

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About Author

Neil is a sought-after frequently-quoted Industry Analyst with a wide spectrum of rich multifunctional experience. He is a knowledgeable, adept, and accomplished strategist. In the last 11 years he has offered expert strategic advice that has been highly regarded across different industries especially in telecom. Prior to Counterpoint, Neil worked at Strategy Analytics as a Senior Analyst (Telecom). Neil also had an opportunity to work with Philips Electronics in multiple roles. He is also an IEEE Certified Wireless Professional with a Master of Science (Telecommunications & Business) from the University of Maryland, College Park, USA.