Friday, February 01, 2013
Apple [AAPL] reclaimed the quarterly US smartphone championship cup from Samsung once again in Q4, according to Strategy Analytics -- but year-on-year the industry shrank slightly as economic uncertainty continues to impact consumer and enterprise markets.
The news is a big claim for Apple -- not only did it become the biggest smartphone vendor in the US, it also became the biggest mobile phone vendor in the US for the very first time, says Strategy Anlaytics analyst, Neil Mawston:
Overall, mobile phone shipments grew 4 percent year-on-year to hit 52 million units in the quarter, including both smart- and feature phones. Apple’s achievements were pretty strong: the company set a new record as it secured 34 percent of the total US mobile phone market, the analyst’s said.
The most concerning metric included within the report is the finding that annual sales in the US were lower in 2012 than in 2011. We saw that pattern begin in advance of the iPhone 5 release, which at the time industry watchers put down to pent-up demand for the hot Apple product. However, its clear this wasn’t the whole story: cash-strapped consumers are holding off on major purchases in reaction to economic woe and tough carrier upgrade policies.
“However, despite a solid fourth-quarter performance, the US mobile phone market had previously contracted 16 percent for the first three quarters of 2012 due to economic uncertainty and tighter carrier upgrade policies. As a result, US mobile phone shipments fell 11 percent from 186.8 million units in 2011 to 166.9 million in 2012,” said Neil Shah, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics.
Apple executives may take a little grim pleasure in this assessment, as it suggests all its competitors are beginning to feel the impact of recession.
Strategy Analytics' ConsumerMetrix service found the top 17 brands in order of preference to be:
Mind share wars
"These survey findings suggest that the 12-month outlook for both Samsung and Apple remains rosy," says David Mercer, Principal Analyst at Strategy Analytics. "By contrast most rivals are struggling to improve consumer support and urgently need to improve mindshare."
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