The two largest smartphone movers and shakers in the industry, Apple and Samsung, release their devices at opposite ends of the calendar. Apple’s devices are released in the fall and Samsung release their flagship device in the spring. And it’s no surprise that around and above the same time, the media cover stories discussing the rise and fall of device sales and market share. Usually, we see Samsung’s market share falling around and about the time of the iPhone launch. Conversely, in the months following the flagship Samsung launch we see the iPhone market share dropping. These switches in market share do not usually amount to a meaningful change in overall market share; some customers favor one platform above the other and some customers will switch from time to time. However, along with the noise surrounding the market share, media often carries stories proclaiming that the latest development by either Apple or Samsung will cause a wholesale change in the market share between these two companies. This year, the stakes are higher than before as Apple are encroaching into Samsung’s arena by bringing out a large screen iPhone, whereas Samsung are countering this by moving into the mobile payment market.
Today’s article stems from a report by investment firm Cowen and Company, whereby the company have increased their year end apple stock price on the back of a poll showing that one in four iPhone 6 or 6 Plus customers are moving from Android users. Their belief is that customers are looking to combine a smartphone with a tablet and the new big screen iPhones achieve just this. They also believe that Apple’s integrated payment system and the new up and coming Apple Watch, which will only be compatible with the iPhone, are also driving customers’ adoption. Their data shows that two thirds of “potential iPhone 6 customers” ranked Apple Pay as an important consideration. And sure, one in four customers for the iPhone has come from Android… but almost three quarters have come from other iPhone customers. This is arguably bad news for iPhone market share. Furthermore, Cowan and Company do not appear to consider where Samsung’s customers (or for that matter, Android) come from. How many come from the iPhone? Furthermore, the article claims that the Apple Watch “is far more advanced than any current smartwatch,” something that is nonsense as the Apple Watch is not available at the moment. How many Apple customers moved to Android so that they could experiment with an Android Wear device and will be switching back to the iPhone?
The Apple Watch is to be released around and about the same time as the Galaxy S6 and we’re going to see the Apple iPhone / Watch competing directly with the S6 / Android Wear. We are likely to see some market share noise between the competitors. Brace yourselves, the Apple Watch is coming, but it will take some time before we see a meaningful difference in market share across the industry.