Phone Brand Landscape Shifts, for Now

Samsung Steady in US, LG Grows Share Before iPhone Launch

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) released analysis of the results from its research on mobile phone manufacturers for the calendar quarter that ended September 30, 2014. This analysis features findings about consumer trends in mobile phone handset brands in the US from July-September 2014.

CIRP finds that among the major phone brands, Samsung maintained the largest share, with Apple and LG next. In the quarter, Samsung accounted for more than one-third of US customer activations (Chart 1).

Chart 1: Phone Brand Share of Activations Q3-2014

Samsung maintained its 36 percent share of US phone activations in the third quarter, while Apple dropped from its market leading 39 percent in the second quarter to 28 percent this quarter. Apple customers waited for the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models that Apple finally released in the final two weeks of the quarter. These shares are relatively similar to the same quarter a year ago, when Samsung had 38 percent compared to 34 percent for Apple.

Beyond the two market leaders, other brands market shares vary considerably depending on product launch schedules and market acceptance of their flagship phone. LG's share jumped from 8 percent in the previous quarter, and 9 percent a year ago, to 18 percent in the third quarter. The new G3 has been well received, allowing LG to jump ahead of other manufacturers and become a viable alternative to Samsung and Apple.

We expect that Apple will regain its market share lead in the fourth quarter, based on the strength of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch. Apple's share jumped to 48 percent in the last quarter of 2014, the first full quarter of iPhone 5S and 5C sales.

CIRP bases its findings on a survey of 500 US subjects, from October 1-13, 2014, that activated a new or used phone in the July-September 2014 period. For additional information, please contact CIRP.

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