Samsung loses top spot to runaway iPhone sales


Apple’s four-model iPhone line-up has overtaken Samsung’s entire UK smartphone portfolio

Apple has become the UK’s leading smartphone manufacturer, knocking Samsung off top-spot after more than three years.

The latest UK figures from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech for the three months ending September 30 state Samsung’s sales share fell from 34.8 per cent to 28.4 per cent in 12 months.

This is the biggest share decline in the UK market. UK sales figures are not publicly available.

By contrast, Apple’s share  increased from 29 per cent to 30 per cent moving it above Samsung for the first time. Samsung had held the number one UK sales spot since overtaking Nokia in 2011.

Kantar strategic insight director Dominic Sunnebo said: “Strong demand for a larger screen iPhone has allowed Apple to gain the number one spot over Samsung in Great Britain’s smartphone market.

Samsung is also experiencing sustained pressure at the low to mid end of the market from resurgent manufacturers, Motorola and Nokia (now Microsoft Mobile Devices).”

The news comes just days after Samsung announced a major overhaul of its global smartphone strategy, after profits slumped 60 per cent to £2.4 billion in its third quarter.


Analysts say Samsung’s problems can be linked to poor reception of the Galaxy S5 (pictured right) which opened Samsung to accusations of lack of innovation around design and build quality.

CCS Insight chief of research Ben Wood says Samsung has missed its opportunity, and now faces “intense pressure” to recapture its previous success.

“Samsung didn’t deliver with the Galaxy S5. There was widespread consumer expectation that it would be a more premium product. This didn’t happen, and Samsung has paid the price for under-delivering.”

Opportunity lost
“Consumers have had their heads turned by the new iPhone.  Samsung has missed that window of opportunity with their flagship. The UK market became dependent on Apple arriving with a new iPhone and getting customers back into shops. The huge number of iPhone 6 models sold is a reflection of that.”

Gartner research director Roberta Cozza and IHS senior director for mobile and telecommunications Ian Fogg agreed.


“The larger display on the iPhone 6 (pictured right) is seen by the installed Apple base as a very tangible asset,” said Cozza.

“The high-end market is now dominated by Apple. Samsung should have innovated more in the mid-tier. They need to build smartphones that give consumers more reason to stick with them.”

Fogg added: “Samsung has been slow to change product design. Consumers are seeing products that look ones they may have bought in 2012.

“It is in a similar position to Nokia when Nokia was number one. It has competition at both the high and low end”

Apple has sold around 584 million iPhones worldwide and 39.3 million in the three months to September.

Samsung has sold more than 200 million Galaxy S devices since introducing the range in 2010.

According to global figures from IDC, Samsung’s market share fell from 32.2 per cent to 24.9 per cent year on year in Q2 – but remains the overall market leader.

Sales projections for its entire handset range for the three months ending September were said to have been around 78.1 million.


The biggest success story in the UK this year comes from the recently-acquired Motorola, thanks largely to the release of its budget Moto G smartphone (pictured right) a year ago.

According to Kantar, Motorola’s market share for the three months ending September 30 stood at 6.4 per cent, up from 0.3 per cent a year ago.

LG and Huawei rise
Sony continued its rise, increasing its smartphone share from 8.7 per cent to 9.3 per cent

LG and Huawei saw their share rise from 2.8 and 1.1 per cent respectively, to 3.9 and 2.1.

BlackBerry continued its decline, with share diving from 4.5 per cent to 0.6 per cent.

Nokia (now Microsoft Mobile Devices) saw its share fall marginally by 0.1 per cent from 9.5 to 9.4.

HTC’s share  fell from 8.1 per cent to 6.9 per cent.

Kantar strategic insight director Dominic Sunnebo said: “The biggest winner this year is certainly Motorola. Its rise in market share is all the more impressive as it has effectively been driven by just one handset – the Moto G.

“That has been acclaimed as the best budget handset at its competitive price.”