According to new sales figures from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Apple was able to leverage the launch earlier this year of the iPhone SE to grow its overall share of U.S. smartphone sales by 1.3 percent year-over-year in the second quarter. However, the firm pointed to LG – the nation’s third largest smartphone vendor in the quarter with 14 percent of sales – as the company that has been able to make the greatest strides in strengthening its position.
“For LG, this represents a steady upward trend over the past two years, doubling in share from the second quarter of 2014 at 7%,” wrote Lauren Guenveur, an analyst with Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, on the company’s website.
Guenveur attributed part of LG’s growth in the U.S. market to the release of the company’s new G5 smartphone. Kantar found the device was the 10th best-selling smartphone in the U.S. at 2.2 percent of sales.
“All that being said, LG’s growth in the US has not depended completely on its latest flagship, but also on shifts we’ve seen in the market landscape over the past two years,” Guenveur wrote. “When we look past the LG G5 and its predecessors, LG’s next best-selling devices are in the mid- and lower range of the market, including the LG K7, LG Leon, and the LG Sunset/Sunrise. These models are not typically available through the Big Four carriers but through smaller, prepaid carriers like MetroPCS, Boost Mobile, and TracFone. Forty-six percent of LG connections are prepaid, the highest of any manufacturer seen in the US.”
And LG appears aware of its opportunity to continue to gain share: The company plans to officially unveil a new flagship smartphone, the V20, during an event in San Francisco on Sept. 6.
Overall, Kantar said, Samsung accounted for 35 percent of smartphone sales in the United States in the quarter, while Apple followed with 32 percent. Lenovo’s Motorola came in fourth at 5 percent.
As for Apple, Kantar said the company’s new iPhone SE – a scaled down, smaller and cheaper version of the company’s iPhone 6s released earlier this year – was the third best-selling phone in the United States with 5.1 percent of sales in the second quarter. The device helped Apple grow its overall share of sales in the U.S. smartphone market in the second quarter to 31.8 percent.
“Combined sales of the iPhone 6s/6s Plus totaled 15.1%, making this the top selling device in the quarter, while the Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 edge accounted for 14.1% of smartphone sales,” Guenveur wrote.
Of course, Android remained the nation’s most popular smartphone operating system during the period with 65.5 percent of sales, down slightly from the 66.1 percent it claimed during the same period a year ago. While Samsung remains the largest vendor of Android smartphones, LG, Motorola, Kyocera and a range of other companies also sell Android smartphones in the United States.
“Anticipation for the newest iPhone, usually released in late September every year, typically means a weaker summer period for iOS,” concluded Kantar in a release. “However, sales data shows that 49% of US iPhone owners and 51% of Chinese iPhone owners own an iPhone 5s or older. This represents a large opportunity to upgrade these consumers to the latest four-inch iPhone.”