Samsung overtakes Apple in U.S. smartphone market on the strength of Galaxy S7

According to data from Counterpoint Research, Samsung surpassed Apple in terms of smartphone market share in the United States, the first time the company has done so in almost a year. Samsung passed Apple based on the sales of its new Galaxy S7 flagship Android smartphone, which is currently sold by AT&T, Verizon and other top U.S. wireless carriers.

BusinessKorea reported the Counterpoint Research market share figures for Samsung in the United States, noting the company in March accounted for 28.8 percent of the U.S. market in terms of smartphone sales. That beat Apple's 23 percent market share.

Counterpoint said LG came in third in the U.S. market with 17.1 percent share; ZTE came in fourth with 6.6 percent of the market; Alcatel was fifth with 4.5 percent; and Huawei accounted for just 1 percent of the U.S. smartphone market. Although Huawei is the world's third-largest smartphone vendor, the company doesn't have any major distribution deals with U.S. wireless carriers.

"The US is a key & very strong market for Samsung where there is high percentage of premium devices sold like the Galaxy S7 series," wrote Counterpoint Research Director Jeff Fieldhack in a post on the company's site in April. Fieldhack added that Samsung's move to release the phone in March in the United States, rather than later in the year as it did with the previous S6, was a "great strategy," and that Samsung's S7 sales in the United States were up 30 percent compared with sales of the S6 a year ago.

That Samsung came in first in the U.S. smartphone market in March doesn't come as much of a surprise. The company earlier this year took the wraps off its Galaxy S7 smartphone, the latest in its Galaxy line of flagship Android smartphones, and the device was well-received by reviewers and heavily marketed by major U.S. carriers. The launch was also clearly successful on a global scale; Samsung last month reported it shipped between 10 million to 11 million units of the S7 in the first quarter, outpacing previous models. Partly as a result, Samsung's net first-quarter profit rose 14 percent to $4.6 billion, and its mobile business reported an operating profit of $3.4 billion, marking a 42 percent jump from the year prior.

Apple, meanwhile, blamed "strong macroeconomic headwinds" on its surprisingly sluggish first quarter results, in which the smartphone vendor posted revenues and profits below analyst expectations, driven largely by a significant dip in its iPhone shipments. Apple shipped a total of 51.2 million iPhones during its most recent quarter, down from the 61.2 million it shipped during the same quarter last year.

Apple's results didn't include sales of its new iPhone SE, the company's newest iPhone that starts at $399 and features a 4-inch screen.

For more:
- see this BusinessKorea article

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