Ever since the spring of 2017, Apple has sold more smartphones than Samsung in the United States in every single quarter. In the third quarter, Samsung finally ended that streak—although there’s a very good reason for that.
According to Strategy Analytics figures, cited by The Korea Herald, Samsung overtook Apple in smartphone sales in the third quarter, Samsung grabbed 33.7 percent of the market, compared to Apple with 30.2 percent. LG was third with 14.7 percent.
However, the reason for that shift is obvious: Apple did not release iPhones during the third quarter this year, bringing out its new 5G smartphone lineup in October, after the start of the fourth quarter. Therefore, those interested in iPhones likely delayed their purchases into the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, Samsung has been bringing out devices throughout the year, as have LG and other smartphone manufacturers. Most of the flagship smartphones, and even some of the lower-priced ones, that have arrived throughout the year in 2020 have offered 5G capability, even as the buildups of such networks by the U.S. carriers remain incomplete.
Strategy Analytics had previously issued numbers for global smartphone sales for the third quarter, which found that 353.6 million smartphones were shipped worldwide in the third quarter. This also found that Samsung was the top smartphone manufacturer in the world in the third quarter, moving 80.4 million units for a market share of 22.7 percent. Samsung was followed, globally, by Huawei, Xiaomi and Apple.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 11—the one released in the fall of 2019—is the highest-selling individual smartphone in the first half of 2020, according to Omdia’s Smartphone Model Market Tracker, with 37.7 million units sold.
Apple unveiled its four new iPhone models in mid-October, debuting three models, which are the first iPhones to offer 5G capability. The first two arrived at the end of October, with the other two new iPhones, the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Mini, becoming available this week.
Early indications are that the early sales of the first two 2020 iPhones that arrived on the market, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, have been relatively strong.
“This is a huge leap for iPhone, bringing the best 5G experience in the market and delivering our most advanced technologies to users who want the absolute most from their iPhone,” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said at the time of the new iPhone release.
“Each generation of iPhone has changed what we expect from a smartphone, and now with 5G, iPhone 12 Pro provides a new generation of performance.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.