The iPhone showed its first decline in sales numbers earlier this year, which has today been reiterated by the latest US mobile market data from Kantar Worldpanel. It finds Apple’s flagship smartphone family lagging behind Samsung’s latest, with 16 percent of American consumers buying a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge and 14.6 percent buying an iPhone 6S or 6S Plus. Now, granted, it’s not a fair fight, owing to Samsung’s S7 and S7 Edge being the newer handsets by half a year, but it’s one that Apple has typically been winning anyway. Not so in 2016.
Looking at sales for the three months ending in May, Kantar also found Samsung had the biggest share of the overall US market, with 37 percent to Apple’s 29 percent. Apple still commands a higher loyalty rating, with 88 percent of current customers intending to buy another iPhone, but Samsung is almost equal, with 86 percent of its users intending to stay loyal. The latter stat is actually a monumental achievement for Samsung, which used to be very good at selling people new devices, but awful at supporting them and making customers feel valued.
This year’s Galaxy S7 generation builds on the solid foundation of last year’s S6 and is undoubtedly the best new flagship we’ve seen since Apple’s last update. Samsung’s consistent improvement in camera quality and user experience is evidently paying off, but it’s also worth noting how early the Korean company was able to release its 2016 flagship. The S7 was out on March 11th, whereas compatriot LG came a month later with its G5 handset, and Taiwan’s HTC was another month later with the HTC 10. Sony, which announced a new flagship-tier device in the Xperia X Performance at the same February event as Samsung’s Galaxy S7 unveiling, still hasn’t brought it out on the market. It’s kind of hard to compete with either Apple or Samsung if your best new product isn’t even on store shelves.