Samsung beats Apple to top spot in US smartphone sales

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The Korean manufacturer bested its global competitor in third quarter sales figures.

Samsung Electronics sold the largest number of smartphones in the United States in the third quarter of the year, beating its rival Apple Inc. for the first time in three years, a report showed Monday.

The report, first quoted in the Korea Herald, shows Samsung had a market share of 33.7 percent in the US this year. Apple came in second, followed by LG. The report says that Samsung was able to take the lead this time thanks to its mid-tier and budget smartphones.

The launch of its new Samsung Galaxy S20 series was also a major driver of Samsung’s performance in the quarter.

Also read: Review: Samsung Galaxy S20 is almost the perfect high-end smartphone

Another factor influencing the Q3 outcome was Apple’s delayed launch for its iPhone 12 series. This delay prevented the Silicon Valley giant giant from getting the boost in sales that such a new product launch would have brought.

Also read: Review: Apple iPhone SE 2020, the perfect smartphone for employees?

Typically, Apple launches new iPhone models in September, which is the end of the third quarter. This time, however, the company pushed the launch to October. The surge in sales of the new iPhone will then be reflected in Q4 unit totals rather than the Q3 numbers.

COVID pandemic had a marked influence on Q3 smartphone sales

COVID-19 depressed the demand of high end and flag ship models, according to Strategy Analytics. Indeed, the US overall smartphone market posted -9 percent annual decline during the third quarter this year.

By contrast, the US market for “unlocked” smartphones posted +6 percent annual growth rate for the same period. In the unlocked market segment, Motorola remained in the top position this quarter. They were followed by BLU, Samsung, Apple and LG.

Samsung also surged globally

Samsung was also the leading vendor in the global smartphone market in Q3. The company posted a 21.9 percent share, beating China brands Huawei Technologies Co. with a 14.1 percent share and Xiaomi Corp. with a 12.7 percent share. Apple had 11.9 percent market share in the global market in the third quarter.