The Rise and Rise of Samsung

New research has shown that more smartphone owners are considering a Samsung device for their next handset than any other Android device manufacturer.

The study, carried out by YouGov, shows a dramatic increase in consumer consideration for the Korean company, with 42% of respondents now considering a Samsung smartphone, up 10% on the previous year. All other major manufacturers including HTC and LG saw a decline in next handset consideration. According to the research only Apple has a higher rate of future consumer consideration at 44%, although this was down from 51% in the previous year.

The report comes less than 3 months after research from IDC Worldwide placed Samsung as the number one smartphone vendor in the world, with a market share of 29.1% – a dramatic 267% year-on-year increase. Over the same period key competitor HTC saw a drop of 23.3% in its world market share.

The numbers are obviously encouraging for the Seoul-based electronics giant, but how did it get to such an enviable position in the market? Early smartphones such as the Galaxy S and S8500 Wave were decent mid-range devices that achieved respectable sales, however, it was with the Galaxy S II that the seeds were really sown. Following its launch, the S II was largely acknowledged by critics to be the best Android smartphone in the world at the time and as such, became a phenomenal success with over 20 million units shipped worldwide by February 2012.

Although the Galaxy S II has proven to be exceptionally popular across the globe, its successor, the Galaxy S III, has been an even more overwhelming success. With reports of over 9 million pre-orders in the two weeks following its unveiling, the latest flagship device from Samsung has garnered much critical praise and huge sales across the world. Indeed, a recent poll of industry analysts carried out by Reuters forecasts sales of 50 million S III’s in the second quarter of 2012 against sales of 30.4 million for Apple’s iPhone 4S.

The Galaxy S III was always going to impress on a technical level, thanks to a number of innovations such as Smart Stay and Pop-up Play, the likes of which had never been seen before in an Android device. But what really seems to have propelled the handset to such lofty heights is the strength of both the Samsung brand in the wider electronics world and the legacy laid down by the S II. It is here where the real parallels with Apple can be drawn, as both manufacturers have come to represent something more than simply a selection of devices.

In contrast, major competitor HTC had limited success with its One X smartphone, a handset which arguably matches the S III in terms of design and tech features. Although the One X is undeniably a worthy flagship unit, the Taiwanese company has historically competed at the budget end of the market and as such could be said to have the gravitas to appeal to aspirational consumers.

The debate will inevitably continue to rage as to who is the dominant force in the smartphone market and, with the forthcoming iPhone 5 expected to be a game changer, the battle is set to continue for some time yet. But one thing is quite clear; Samsung has now firmly established itself as one of the most important and influential forces in mobile.

Data taken from YouGov’s Smartphone, Mobile Internet, eXperience (SMIX) wave 11 June 12 report.

Leave a Reply