Apple Inc.’s iPhones are arguably the most aspirational smartphones across Asia, but with the iPhone 6, the California-based company is challenging Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s dominance in South Korea, November sales numbers compiled by a research firm suggest.
In November, Apple captured a record one-third of the total smartphone sales in Korea for the first time, Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Technology Market Research said in a post on Wednesday.
“No foreign brand has gone beyond the 20 percent market share mark in the history of Korea’s smartphone industry. It has always been dominated by the global smartphone leader, Samsung,” Tom Kang, Counterpoint’s research director in Korea, wrote in the post. “But iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have made a difference here, denting the competition’s phablet sales.”
Korea is world’s most penetrated phablet market, Kang wrote, referring to smartphones with screens of 5 inches or more across the diagonal. It “earnestly needed a large screen iPhone for quite a time and now this thirst has been quenched,” he wrote.
Apple’s November smartphone sales in Korea could have been as high as 40 percent, according to Kang, had there been a better supply of the models that are popular in the country -- the 64GB and 128GB models of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Apple consolidated its dominance in Japan by taking over more than half of smartphone sales market in October and November. In China, it occupied the third spot in November behind Xiaomi Inc. and Lenovo Group, according to Counterpoint’s post.
In China, iPhone’s monthly sales reached a record in November, growing more than 45 percent over the year-ago period, as rich urban Chinese consumers quickly warmed to the bigger iPhone form-factors, the research firm said.
The iPhone 6 accounted for more than two-thirds of the total iPhone sales in China in November, but as supply of the 6 Plus improves, the latter will likely gain a much larger share, Counterpoint’s Research Director Neil Shah, wrote.
With Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus already affecting sales of Samsung’s premium smartphones, the Galaxy S5 and Note 4, the launch of Xiaomi’s Mi Note and Note Pro will hurt the Korean company’s prospects in China “from both sides,” Shah wrote.