Is Apple Catching Up With Samsung?


South Korean conglomerate Samsung was able to score the top spot in the global smartphone race last year, leading Apple by a healthy margin. IDC's estimates showed that Samsung's 215.8 million units shipped were well ahead of the 135.9 million iPhones that Apple sold in 2012. Apple has always had more strength on its home turf, and comScore's latest digits show that the iPhone maker is outpacing Samsung in the important U.S. market.

The data shows that 129.4 million consumers in the U.S. now own smartphones, representing 55% penetration. That figure is up 7% from October. In this geographical segment, Apple leads its archenemy by a healthy margin; it grabbed 37.8% of the market in the three months ending in January. In comparison, Samsung's slice was 21.4%.

Smartphone OEM

October 2012

January 2013






















Source: comScore.

Not only was Apple on top, but its growth outpaced all of its rivals. Samsung still put up a respectable showing, even as it lacked any major product introductions. The Galaxy S IV is set to be unveiled on March 14, which may give it a boost. HTC continues to see its fortunes decline and just said today that its sales in February plunged by 44% from a year ago.

Google's Motorola subsidiary ranked No. 4 after giving up a modest percentage. The search giant likely isn't surprised at the decline, though, as CFO Patrick Pichette recently made some disparaging remarks about Motorola's product pipeline. At the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference last week, Pichette bluntly said Google inherited 18 months of products that weren't up to Google's "wow" standards. Big G is anxious to drain these devices and build the next wave of innovative gadgets under Google's corporate umbrella.

comScore notes that the increase in U.S. smartphone adoption was largely driven by Apple. Most of Samsung's success has been in emerging markets, but outpacing the South Korean company in the U.S. will still help Apple catch up.

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