Samsung and Apple have established a firm duopoly on the US phone market
More than 90% of the phones sold at each of the four major carriers' stores were either made by Apple or Samsung, according to a new store survey done by analysis firm Wave7 Research and reported first by PC Mag. The study confirms earlier reports and shows that despite the buzz around the latest phones by companies such as Google, OnePlus and others, the US market is largely dominated by Apple and Samsung. It's a duopoly that has not changed much in the last few years.
Apple and Samsung phones made up a whopping 95% of all the phones sold at AT&T stores, 94% of the phones sold at Verizon stores, 94% over at Sprint and 91% at T-Mobile stores, according to this report.
The most popular phone sold at carrier stores was the iPhone 11, while the most popular Android phone was the Samsung Galaxy S10.
A very, very distant third was Google's family of Pixel phones that grabbed between 2% and 4% depending on the carrier, while OnePlus got the fourth place with 2.3%, largely thanks to the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition sold at T-Mobile stores.
The most popular phone at all four major US carriers in December was the iPhone 11
These numbers once again show just how much of a hold Apple and Samsung have on the US market and how things are just not changing.
It's worth pointing out that carrier stores control the overwhelming majority of US postpaid phone sales, selling between 85% and 90% of the phones, with only between 10% to 15% of postpaid sales happening via other channels like Amazon, Best Buy and the rest.
Postpaid, or contract, subscribers are the most profitable customers for carriers and this is largely the number that matters for revenues. Latest publicly available data from Q3 2018 estimated that there are 267 million postpaid mobile subscribers in the US and only 46 million customers on prepaid. Typically, prepaid plans are cheaper and are preferred by customers from lower income households that are also generally not buying high-end phones. This latest report confirms this: for example, over at MetroPCS, Samsung, LG and Motorola were the top sellers in the first half of December, while Boost Mobile was selling mostly iPhone and Samsung phones, but the LG Stylo 5 was ranked as the fifth most popular phone there.