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Samsung creeps up on Apple in US online smartphone sales

Seung-Woo Lee Sep 25, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Samsung Electronics Co. has sharply narrowed its gap with Apple Inc. in the US online smartphone market during the second quarter of this year to arrive just one percentage point behind the sector leader, according to a market research firm.

The South Korean tech giant took up 37% of second-quarter smartphone sales on US online platforms, inching closer to Apple’s 38%, Counterpoint Research Inc. said on Sept. 25. Third-ranked LG Electronics Inc. accounted for 9%.

Samsung’s second-quarter results represented a 16 percentage-point rise in the US online smartphone sales from a year-earlier period.

Its market share growth came in tandem with the online sales expansion of smartphones across the US amid social distancing trends in the pandemic era. Overall, smartphone sales on both online and offline platforms shrank by 25% on year in the world’s largest market.

Online sales made up 31 % of total smartphone shipments to the US in the April-June period, up from 14% from a year-earlier period and compared to 17% in the first quarter of this year.

Samsung has focused on boosting online sales channels and non-contact marketing.

“We made it convenient for consumers to buy on websites and stepped up cooperation with US telecoms companies to expand non-contact sales,” said a Samsung Electronics source.

Thanks to robust online sales, Samsung reported a smaller year-on-year fall of 10% in second-quarter US smartphone shipments both online and offline, compared to the 23-25% drops by Apple and LG Electronics during the same period.

Chinese brands, including ZTE and OnePlus, suffered from 60-68% tumbles in their US smartphone shipments in the second quarter due to the US-China trade dispute.

By sales channel, ranked as the biggest US online sales platform for smartphones with a 55% share, followed by mobile platforms run by Verizon and T-Mobile.

In the offline US smartphone market, however, Samsung remained behind Apple by a bigger margin with a 25% share in the April-June quarter, compared to Apple’s 46%. LG’s offline market share came to 12%.

Write to Seung-Woo Lee at

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