Samsung Galaxy Market Share: Is Galaxy the Top Smartphone?

In late July, reports circulated that Samsung overtook Apple to become the world’s most profitable mobile phone company. But it hasn't beaten out the American tech giant across all metrics. With Wednesday's early jump on announcing its newest phone and smartwatch at 1 p.m. ET, Samsung is attempting to edge out its main competitor apple in the global smarttech race.

Last month, Apple’s share of the smartphone market dropped to 14%, its lowest for three years under its newest phone iteration, the iPhone 5. Driven by demand for cheaper Android devices in Asia and Latin America, Samsung made an estimated 3.4 billion pounds in operating profit during the second quarter of 2013. In the latest last count, Samsung shipped between 72 million and 76 million smartphones last quarter, while its iPhone competitor came in at a mere 31.2 million units.


Still, Apple has retained its lead where overall mobile traffic is concerned. Apple has gained the most share of global web traffic on its devices over the past year improving from 31.8% to 41.4%, when considering all device families including the iPod music player and iPad tablet series.

But this lead is relatively stagnant in terms of growth. While Apple’s iPhones had a substantial lead over Samsung (almost two and a half times), its share of mobile traffic was essentially flat over the year. Samsung’s smartphones share has increased from 16.8% to 21.8% with almost half of the increase coming from third place Blackberry shrinking from 9.1% to 6.8%. LG has moved up to fourth at 4.1% and HTV slipped to fifth place at 3.3%

As Samsung is edging to beat out Apple with the release of its latest gadgets including its newest phone, the Galaxy Note 3, and smartwatch, the Galaxy Gadget Watch (see how they compare here), a legal matter may threaten to derail the Korean company's growth in the U.S. market. 

The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled on August 9 of this year that South Korea's Samsung infringes on portions of two Apple patents on digital mobile devices, related to the detection of headphone jacks and operation of touchscreens. This decision could harm Samsung's edge in the U.S. market, as some older Samsung mobile devices will face a sales and import ban due to the legal issue.

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Rachel George

Rachel is a PhD candidate in International Relations at the London School of Economics. She holds a BA in Politics from Princeton and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard. Her interests include journalism, U.S. foreign policy, human rights, and international law.

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