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Competitive Analysis | Apple vs Samsung Market Share

As we wrap up the holiday season and consumers check off the products from their lists, Consumer Electronics is a category that seems to hold its own. As the parent of a tween, I hear the request for a tablet and a phone seven or more times a day… ‘If only I had a phone, I’d want the new Apple,‘ or ‘I need my own tablet‘. While the only apple in her holiday stocking had seeds and a core and her new tablet has wide-ruled notebook paper, it did make me question what the top brands are capturing market share for these CE categories – who is coming out on top for tablets, smartphones, and the other products my tween added to her Christmas list? Read below to see what TraQline data has to say about CE brands driving the list.

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The Leaders at the Top

The consumer electronics category seems to be expanding each day…whereas it used to be just TVs and headphones, on the floor of CES this year we saw scores of TVs, health and fitness products, and even appliances. At the core of CE products are computers, laptops, smartphones, televisions, and audio/video products – these are the products we’ll be focusing on. The current leaders in this core Consumer Electronics (CE) category overall are Apple and Samsung, both hovering at around 11 percent market share. Sony takes third with 10 percent of the share. While Apple, Samsung, and Sony do battle for the lead, Bose and Nintendo round out the top five with 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

Having established that Apple and Samsung are currently at the top of the category, we examined which specific overlapping categories for each of the two companies – in this case, cell phones, laptops, and tablets.

Apple vs Samsung: Smartphone Market Share

While Apple and Samsung both have variances in their product mix, their most fierce head to head competition is in smartphone market share. Apple takes first place for cell phones: 50 percent of consumers last quarter reported purchasing Apple branded cell phones vs 33 percent of consumers purchasing Samsung (Source: TraQline, 4QE September 2019). Among consumers gravitating towards Apple branded products in general, we see that the majority are purchasing smartphones, making up nearly half of their overall product mix- 47 percent. On the other hand, smartphones make up only about 31 percent of Samsung’s product mix, with televisions – not currently made by Apple – making up an additional 38 percent.

Apple vs Samsung: Tablet Market Share

Additionally, Apple holds a large percentage of the overall tablet market, with 36 percent. Samsung makes a smaller dent, with 17 percent. In terms of how tablets contribute to each brand’s mix of products, tablets make up 17 percent of Apple’s overall product mix, and 8 percent of Samsung’s product mix (Source: TraQline, 4QE September 2019).

Apple vs Samsung: Laptop Market Share

Samsung’s laptops make up just under 3 percent of their CE product mix, and the brand also has 3 percent of the overall laptop market. Apple’s laptops win 18 percent of the market share and make up 16 percent of their product mix (Source: TraQline, 4QE September 2019).

The Global Market shows there’s more to the story

You may look at all this information and be tempted to proclaim Apple’s superiority over Samsung. However, the global market tells a different story. On the international stage, Samsung ships more smartphones than any other manufacturer. Until recently, Apple came in second; Huawei has usurped Apple’s position. Samsung also manufactures CE products such as TVs, Blu-ray players, and home theater products that Apple does not. This has a significant impact on their overall CE market share – for instance Samsung’s share in TV is nearly 29 percent of the entire US market.

Both of these top CE brands are clear winners in their own right. As we discussed previously, while Apple is still the go-to for cell phones and tablets, the brand doesn’t make televisions, which gives Samsung room to capture overall share. As technology continues to change and evolve at high speeds, consumers seem poised to continue their obsession with these two top brands.

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TraQline's Dave Stevenson, PH.D President & CEO
Dave Stevenson, PH.D
President & CEO

Before launching The Stevenson Company in 1995, President and CEO Dave Stevenson managed worldwide research for product development, distribution, advertising, and customer satisfaction. His roles, first as head of the marketing section of General Motors’ worldwide product planning group, and later as director of GE Appliances’ global economics and market research team, give him extensive experience in consumer as well as business to business marketing solutions. Mr. Stevenson holds a Ph.D. in statistics from Southern Methodist University.