Apple and Samsung dominated 71% of the US smartphone market in 2015


When we speak of the top of the global smartphone industry's Olympus, it's always been Apple and Samsung playing God while the rest are watching from below. Many dream of disrupting their stronghold and boast how their products offer much better value for your hard-earned cash. But the stretch between the top dogs and the rest of the pack battling for what's left of the bone is cosmic, and that's not about to change anytime soon. Thankfully, it's yet to stop anyone with a competitive product in them from trying.

Global market share is one thing, but narrowing the perspective over the US market's borders makes for another interesting perspective on Apple and Samsung's dominance and one-on-one competition. According to Parks Associates' research, Apple is the leading player in North America, with 40% of market share in its grasp by the end of 2015. At 31%, Samsung has a fair bit of catching up to do, and the closest competitor to the two is LG, at a comparatively meager 10% market share.

It shall be interesting to see whether the upcoming LG G5, a rather interesting smartphone by the looks of it, will eat into Apple and Samsung's market shares, despite the two's traditionally strong competition. Apple is going to introduce significant changes with the iPhone 7 & 7 Plus in the second half of 2016, and is also rumored to unveil an aggressively priced iPhone with up-to-date hardware and features in March. The three offerings are sure to attract potential upgraders and Android switchers, perhaps more so than the Samsung Galaxy S7, which is shaping up as an incremental upgrade over its technologically impressive predecessor.
Still, the smartphone market is a difficult place to do business in, even if you are Apple, Samsung, or LG. The reason for this is saturation. The research says that 80% of US "broadband households" now own a smartphone, and while we're at it, Western European countries exhibit similar saturation percentages (with Spain holding a striking 90%). Still, there is hope for the mature, highly saturated US markets, as one-third of iPhone owners and some 30% of Samsung's crowd are rocking two-year old handsets and probably consider upgrading.

To conclude the overview, here is some random interesting trivia from Parks Associates for mobile enthusiasts. You sure love watching videos, don't you?

  • More than 70% of smartphone users in America now watch short streaming video clips, and more than 40% watch long streaming videos
  • Almost 40% of smartphone users use the voice recognition function; among iPhone users, more than half have used Siri.
  • 36% of users use Wi-Fi calling
  • 35% stream music from the phone to speakers
  • 26% use a payment app for purchases at a retail location
  • 24% stream video from the phone to a second screen (e.g., TV, PC, etc.)

source: Park Associates

Related phones

iPhone 6s
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Apple A9 APL0898, Dual-core, 1840 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 1715 mAh(14h 3G talk time)
Galaxy S6
  • Display 5.1" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 2100 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2550 mAh(23h 3G talk time)

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24 Comments

1. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

Apple Samsung duopoly Only happen in USA. Not in Asia market

3. TerryTerius unregistered

Apple is the top smart phone seller in China. Its share is 27%, while Huawei is 24%. I'm not sure about the rest of Asia though.

5. hanabi

Posts: 177; Member since: Oct 08, 2015

In china huwei is at top, then xiomi and then apple comes at third, samsung at 5th

7. TerryTerius unregistered

Apple replaced Huawei at the top in the last quarter.

8. Supersonic

Posts: 226; Member since: May 15, 2015

You are in which world? Huwei is top with 15%, Xiomi with 13% and Apple is with 12%. Please only comment when you know the data right.

10. TerryTerius unregistered

Source? I'm using Kantar's most recent data. To the best of my knowledge, they've always been reliable. Though I'm more than happy to learn more accurate information if you have it available.

14. joseanand

Posts: 27; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

nope. Xioami was no.1 in china 2015 with 15.2% market share. second huawei with 14,7% market share and apple third with 12.5%. data source : Canalys and Strategy Analytics news source: blogs.wsj.com/digits/2016/02/01/xiaomi-ends-2015-a​s-chinas-smartphone-king/

15. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Your data only takes into account the major metro areas of China. His takes account over all of China. They mentioned that in an analysis of the Kantar data here and on other sites.

22. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yeah right, wsj is more legit for this stuff

23. Supersonic

Posts: 226; Member since: May 15, 2015

It is all over the net Terry. Only you should have patience to look for it

2. Nallaikumaran

Posts: 61; Member since: Sep 14, 2015

Latest U.S. smartphone market numbers show Apple in the lead, but Samsung is catching up - This is a true story. check out Apple news site (9to5mac, Appadvice But iPhonearena? Apple fanboys?

4. TerryTerius unregistered

How is it fanboyism to say Apple and Samsung lead the US market? That's just factually accurate. Apple is the largest smartphone manufacturer in the U.S, and Samsung is the second largest. I honestly don't understand how objective truth can be fanboyism. Yes, Samsung is slowly gaining ground. Statement is still true though.

16. joseanand

Posts: 27; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

apple lost market share. and samsung gained market share. end of story.

9. Supersonic

Posts: 226; Member since: May 15, 2015

You are absolutely right. Iphonearena does not paint actual story. The Actual story is Apple marketshare is falling in US.

12. Macready

Posts: 1824; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

And it's falling in Europe too. The only reason they gained in China, is because the new iPhones 6S/6S Plus, were available 30% longer during the last quarter, compared to 2014. Basically an earlier release painting a more rosy picture. Over the same actual sales period after introduction, sales might have dropped there too.

13. TerryTerius unregistered

That is true. It's falling in the US, Japan, and nearly all of Europe.

11. twens

Posts: 1180; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

All I know is the current iPhones are nice but boring, their camera needs a serious update as well. The current Samsung phones are nice with great camera but battery life is poor. Let's see who gets my money with their next flagships.

17. Kary1

Posts: 300; Member since: Jun 26, 2015

And this is the problem. People who think there are only two choices, and describe the existing products as "nice" when they really suck. But without doing research, who would know any different?

18. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Samsung has a lot of catching up to do? I bet Samsung sold more phone in 2015 than any single phone making OEM. Also 31% is very lose to 40%. With iPhone sales dropping, that gap could be even closer for 2016. Samsung is in a prime position. They are the top selling Android OEM. No company has ever sold 430M+ phone in a year before. Once Apple falls on their iPhone face, Samsung will be there to pick up the pieces (customers). Sammy doesn't have to depend on phones sales like Apple and HTC have too because they dont have anything else that makes equal amounts of money. Without the iPhone Apple dies. Without the Galaxy, Samsung will lose money, but won't die out.

19. xocomaox

Posts: 201; Member since: Dec 14, 2015

Apple makes a killing on their other hardware like Macbooks, iMacs and tablets. They have revenue elsewhere such as the apps store and Apple Music/TV. The iPhone is not the only thing keeping them going. I'm not too interested with either OEM, as they can't seem to produce a phone for power users (Knox and iOS plus lacking storage space). But they both have plenty of life left, with Samsung's other ventures and Apples brand recognition going for it.

21. TerryTerius unregistered

The iPhone is close to 60% of their revenue. It is absolutely the backbone of their company. MacBooks, iMac's and iPads combined don't even come close to making up for that.

24. Supersonic

Posts: 226; Member since: May 15, 2015

Funny post. Apple makes almost 70% profit from smartphone. And you know why Apple able to sell their product at sky high price? That is only for fanboys like you.

20. mudcat62

Posts: 11; Member since: Sep 15, 2015

This is taking into account all Samsung phones. All the free Samsung phones and the buy 1 get 1 goes into the total. If they break out premium phones, there is no comparison. That Apple leads with premium phones says it all. Most of Samsung 31 percent is freebie phones.

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