In September we posted a report titled "Samsung weeps as iPhone 6 Mania Rocks around the Globe." There was just something in the air about the iPhone 6 that was different from some previous models. In part it was the introduction of Apple's first Phablet taking on Samsung's Galaxy Note. Apple was taking the battle to Samsung and there was electricity in the air as the battle began. On January 9 we posted a report from Kantar that told us tells us that the iPhone 6 had won the war by a wide margin in the U.S. Today, the news is even sweeter: Apple's iPhone 6 is the first smartphone by a foreign company to ever go beyond 20% market share in South Korea. In fact Apple smashed that record by a wide margin by taking Samsung's Galaxy smartphone line-up head on.
Record iPhone 6 Sales on Samsung's Home Turf
Apple ignited their war against Samsung in South Korea in late October with record presales and today we read that Apple captured a record 33 percent market share in South Korea in November, the highest ever for a foreign brand, according to a monthly report released by Hong Kong-based market research company Counterpoint.
In contrast, Samsung's share slipped to 46 percent after hovering around 60 percent for five months.
Commenting on Apple's performance in Korea, Counterpoint's Research Director based in Korea, Tom Kang notes that "No foreign brand has gone beyond the 20% market share mark in the history of Korea's smartphone industry. It has always been dominated by the global smartphone leader, Samsung. But iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have made a difference here, denting the competition's phablet sales. Korea being the world's highest penetrated phablet market (handsets with 5" above screens) earnestly needed a large screen iPhone for quite a time and now this thirst has been quenched. If there was a better supply of iPhone 6 & 6 Plus 64GB & 128GB models (popular SKUs*) during the month then Apple's share could have climbed to the 40% level."
iPhone 6 Sales in Japan
In Japan, one of the most premium smartphone markets in the world, Apple captured more than half of the smartphone sales in October as well as November. Japan has been one of the strongest markets for Apple and it is becoming increasingly difficult for competition to challenge Apple's dominance in near- to mid-term. Apple is likely to benefit from their upcoming Apple Watch with a growing and premium iPhone user-base in this highly advanced consumer market.
iPhone 6 Sales in China
In China, iPhone sales reached record monthly high volumes, growing more than 45% annually in November, as rich urban Chinese consumers quickly warmed to the bigger iPhone form-factors.
Counterpoint's Research Director Neil Shah, commenting on Apple's record performance in China notes that "This has helped propel Apple's smartphone market share to above 12%, capturing third spot behind Lenovo and the market leader Xiaomi. iPhone 6 was the most popular iPhone model during November accounting for more than two-thirds of the total iPhone sales."
Neil Shah added that "with improving supply of iPhone 6 Plus we believe the iPhone 6 Plus sales will contribute to a greater proportion of the sales mix in December and during the Chinese holiday season in Q1 2015. Apple with iPhone 6 & 6 Plus has been able to impact Samsung's premium Galaxy S5 & Note 4 sales."
Two Thumbs Up!
One More Thing: Apple's iPhone 6 sales record began with Korean consumers standing in the rain on day one of the iPhone 6 release as we noted in our October report titled "Loyal Apple Fans in Korea Stood in the Rain for the iPhone 6. A hearty two thumbs up to those who kick-started Apple's new sales record.