Smartphone Report Lists Apple And Samsung As The Top Two Brands
May 23, 2014

Smartphone Report Lists Apple And Samsung As The Top Two Brands

Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

Apple and Samsung are the top smartphone brands, according to the latest research from Counterpoint's Market Monitor quarterly tracking program. The report found that the American smartphone market reached 33 million units at the end of the first quarter (Q1) 2014, and the market saw a "modest" seven percent gain.

Smartphones also grew to reach 87 percent of total handset shipments, the highest level yet for these devices. The feature phone continued to lose market share, but the Market Monitor report noted that Samsung was the largest shipper of handsets in the first quarter of the year, while Apple remained the largest shipper of smartphones. That means that Samsung, which is still the second largest smartphone maker dominated a fairly robust portion of the feature phone market.

Of course Apple only makes smartphones.

Together, however, Apple and Samsung also accounted for two-thirds of the total of all Q1 smartphone shipments, while the two companies – which tend to meet up quite often in court – had a combined 70 percent of all LTE mobile smartphone shipments. For Q1 three out of four smartphones shipped were LTE smartphones.

The quarterly report also found that some new names are making headway in the smartphone arena --  TCL-Alcatel became the fourth largest handset supplier and the fifth largest smartphone supplier in the United States knocking down Chinese brand Huawei.

The new report noted that the Android share of the market rose to 59 percent, while Windows Phone managed to grow to just below four percent of the market. Despite the growth of Android, in-carrier share by brands still saw Apple dominate the number one and two mobile carriers Verizon and AT&T, respectively. More than half of the top two carriers' smartphone shipments were Apple iPhones.

More than a third of smartphone shipments at the third and fourth largest carriers, Sprint and T-Mobile, were also Apple devices. However, Samsung was the top brand at T-Mobile, while the next best performing brands by carrier included Nokia at AT&T, Alcatel at T-Mobile, ZTE at Sprint and Motorola at Verizon.

T-Mobile, along with its MetroPCS sub-brand, became the third largest smartphone carrier in term of smartphone volume and was closely behind AT&T. It overtook Sprint, even with Sprint's other MVNOs.

The feature phone market is hanging on at nearly 13 percent, but that number will likely diminish as smartphone market share increases.

"In a few years, it will be 100 percent as all phones become 'smartphones,'" said Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics. "Maybe that day we will drop the smart moniker and they will be just phones again."

"The market is going through a consolidation of consumer preferences, largely driven through advertising," Entner told redOrbit. "Over time, such concentration creates openings for smaller providers, if they have a great product, launch it at the right time and support it with sufficient advertising. The fate of the HTC One might show that the days of just having a great phone are gone."

While the Apple/Samsung rivalry continues – in and out of the courts – recent teardown costs suggest that Apple could be reaping more profit from its devices.

"A recent teardown showed Samsung's latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, is nearly $50 more expensive to build than Apple's flagship iPhone 5S," reported Design& Trend. "Analyst IHS Technology has discovered the 32GB version of the new Samsung flagship to cost $256 to build, making it significantly more expensive than other high-end smartphones, including Apple's iPhone 5S. In comparison, the 5S is about $50 cheaper to build than the S5, which is also pricier to put together than its predecessors, the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4, which cost $205 and $236 to build, respectively. Cheap Android devices ZTE U793 and K-Touch T619+, meanwhile, cost under $35 to build, according to IHS."

Additionally, while the numbers for the top two phone makers were good in the United States it might have been less rosy in other parts of the world.

Tech Times reported, "Several research firms that track the market have reported that despite rising first quarter shipment numbers for the overall smartphone category, market leaders Samsung and Apple actually lost share to their smaller competitors. Samsung share fell by 1.7 percentage points, to 30.2 percent, from 31.9 percent, and Apple's share slipped 1.6 percentage points, to 15.5 percent, from 17.1 percent, according to a recent IDC report."

Research firm Strategy Analytics also reported that global smartphone shipments saw 33 percent annual growth from 213.9 million units in the first quarter of 2013 to 285.0 million in the same quarter in 2014. Demand was far heavier in Asia, which counterbalanced the more sluggish volumes seen in North America.