New reports suggest that Apple has hammered Android’s market share over the past twelve months on the strength of iPhone X and iPhone 8 sales. Early sales of these devices in the back half of 2017 may have raised concerns that Apple could have bet wrong with its iPhone 8 and iPhone X positioning, but overall sales since seem to have allayed those fears.
The latest data from the research and analysis company Kantar suggests that iOS’s market share surged by 5.9 percent from June 2017 to June 2018, driven by strong sales of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. Eight of the top 10 smartphones sold on the market are iOS models according to Kantar’s Dominic Sunnebo, Global Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, who states:
Apple continues to wield huge power in the US market, with iPhone models making up eight out of the ten best-selling models in the past three months. Apple currently enjoys unprecedented depth across the smartphone price spectrum, ranging from the iPhone SE to the $1,000 iPhone X; resulting in continued growth and hitting Samsung and LG hard. While Samsung is well represented at the premium end of the market with its S9 and Note series, and its budget orientated J series helps compete against LG, lack of depth in the mid-high tier is allowing Apple to find a new avenue for growth.
This is an interesting argument. Normally when we talk about Apple as a premium brand, there’s an expectation that this perception is principally enjoyed by the top-end models. But with Apple locking down eight of the top-selling US phone spots and the iPhone X identified as #4, the implication is that US consumers would rather be packing even non-X Apple devices over most Android hardware, even if Android devices ship more overall.
At the same time, I’m not sure I’d say Apple has found any kind of “new avenue” for growth. The company is selling more phones at more price points and it’s achieved this by continuing to sell older devices that it previously would’ve retired. That strategy has clearly paid off, but let’s not pretend it takes a Harvard MBA to come up with the idea of selling a product you already manufacture.
Apple gained share in countries like Germany and France, but lost two points of market share to Android in China (likely worth far more unit sales). The iPhone X, however, remains the top-selling Chinese device even if iOS only enjoys roughly 19.4 percent of the market. Android holds 79.3 percent of the smartphone market in Europe overall.
Kantar also notes that Huawei’s improved performance was a major driver of Android’s overall success, a fact that’s likely to grate on Samsung. The P20 smartphone — a phone we featured for its incredible performance on the DxO benchmark earlier this year — reportedly single-handedly raised Huawei’s market share in Great Britain from 2.7 percent to 13.7 percent in just the past three months. The US government has warned repeatedly against Huawei products and the company has no market in the United States.
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