Apple's lead over Samsung in the smartphone segment shrunk over the course of the third quarter of the year and amounted to only 8.9 instead of 15.5 percentage points that the company boasted two years ago, The Korea Herald reported on Tuesday, citing a recent research conducted by Strategy Analytics. In regards to Q3 2017, Samsung accounted for 23.1 percent of global smartphone sales, whereas Apple seized 32 percentage points of the market. While the difference between the two appears to be on a decline as far as actual sales are concerned, the iPhone maker is still by far the most profitable smartphone manufacturer on the planet, having accounted for nearly 70 percent of the global operating profit over the three-month period ending September 30th. At the same time, Samsung seized 21.8 percent of all operating profits and also managed to reduce its profitability gap with Apple which dropped from 66.9 to 48.1 percentage points over the last 24 months.
The Seoul-based tech giant remains the world's largest smartphone manufacturer by shipments, having accounted for 21.2 percent of the total device volume in the third quarter of the year, nearly twice as much as Apple did with its 11.4 percent share. The fact that Samsung managed to improve its historical performance in relation to Apple over the third quarter of the year is said to be a notable achievement because the Cupertino, California-based tech giant traditionally enjoys the strongest success over the observed period as it launches new iPhone models each fall. The profitability gap between the two is still massive despite their sales numbers being comparable, largely because Samsung also services the entry-level and mid-range segments that come with significantly thinner profit margins.
Samsung's catch-all product strategy hence seems to be paying off for the South Korean chaebol, yet the company may be looking to tweak it in the near future, with recent reports suggesting that the phone maker is now planning to limit the European availability of the Galaxy A7 (2018), a device that should have been the face of its next-generation mid-range lineup. Likewise, the Galaxy A3 (2018) may not be released next year, leaving the Galaxy A5 (2018) as the company's only truly globally available mid-range offering for 2018.