Apple Widens Gap with Samsung in the Premium Smartphone Segment in Dec 2016

Apple captured a record share of the important premium segment widening the gap with Samsung by more than 50%.

According to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Monthly Market Pulse for December 2016 report which tracks the global smartphone sell-through performance via channel survey, the smartphone sell-through volumes crossed a record 150 million units globally in December and 1.5 billion units for the full year 2016.

Commenting on the findings, Jeff Fieldhack, Research Director at Counterpoint Research said, “During the first eight months of 2016, Apple saw its smartphone market share remain at a record low compared to the last few years. However, the iPhone 7 series launch has been able to offset most of the previous decline. The iPhone 7 series demand was healthy through the holiday period, especially in markets such as USA, Western Europe and Japan somewhat offsetting a softer than expected performance in China. Apple surpassed Samsung in December 2016 capturing a 19% share of the global smartphone sell-through volumes.

Furthermore, Apple’s share of the $400+ segment crossed the 70% mark in December 2016 from a low point of 47% in May 2016, which is commendable considering the premium segment growth has been flat annually. A healthy sell-through of iPhones in the channel points toward a strong holiday quarter from a shipments perspective and strong wholesale ASP as the mix shifted towards higher capacity and larger screen iPhone models. In markets, such as the USA, Apple’s share in the premium segment has reached close to a record 80% in this peak season.”

Dec 2016 Premium Segment APple vs Samsung

Source: Counterpoint Research: Monthly Market Pulse Dec 2016

Peter Richardson, Research Director at Counterpoint Research added, “Apple and Samsung’s share shifts in the premium segment (US$400+ wholesale) have been always been almost a zero-sum game, but the gap has widened to more than 50 percentage point difference. Part of the reason being the absence of Galaxy Note 7 and rising competition from rivals’ flagships such as Huawei Mate 8, Google Pixel and Moto Z in some markets. While Galaxy S7 series sales have been strong, they’ve not been strong enough to fill the void left by the Galaxy Note 7. It will be a testing time for Samsung with the upcoming flagship Galaxy S8 to claw back share and then maintain it until the next version of the Note is launched.”

Monthly Pulse - Apple Samsung Huawei

Source: Counterpoint Research: Monthly Market Pulse Dec 2016

Tina Lu, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research added, “Huawei has been the rising star and December 2016 was also the first-time Huawei crossed the 10% share mark globally. Huawei has also for the first-time been on par with Apple in terms of sell-through volumes in couple of months during 2016. This is a significant feat for the Chinese brand. Huawei aims to surpass Apple in volumes during 2017. However, performance in North America and key Asian markets will be the key. If it can build on its strong position in Europe, Latin America and Middle East Africa, then it has a chance to accomplish this milestone.”

Analyst Contacts:

Jeff Fieldhack
+1 858.603.2703

Peter Richardson
+44 20 3239 6411

Tina Lu
+54 911 6041 1221

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