Apple Is Destroying Samsung In Its Home Market

Tim Cook Apple Store
Apple CEO Tim Cook opens the door of an Apple Store to begin iPhone 6 sales. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Thanks to the iPhone 6, new figures reveal that Apple’s market share is rocketing in Asia — at Samsung’s expense.

A new report from Counterpoint claims Apple grew its share of the global smartphone market by 26% last year. In November 2014, the company passed 20 million monthly sales worldwide for the first time ever, 9to5Mac reports.

Apple’s success is pegged largely to the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. There’s a big market in Asia for “phablets,” or devices that bridge the divide between smartphone and tablet. Samsung was a pioneer of the size, while Apple’s smaller iPhones have failed to attract customers who wanted a larger screen. But thanks to the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, Apple’s now making serious headway in the market.

Apple has been particularly successful in South Korea, where Samsung has traditionally dominated its home market. Figures show that Samsung’s share has plummeted from 60% in September to 46% in November. Apple, meanwhile, has made unprecedented headway, soaring to 33%. According to Counterpoint research director Tom Kang, previously, “no foreign brand has gone beyond the 20% market share mark in the history of Korea’s smartphone industry.”

These figures are even more clearly illustrated in this graphic:

Apple Samsung South Korea market shares

Samsung still holds the largest share of the market. But it no longer has an absolute majority, and it’s pretty clear that Apple’s growth is at the direct expense of the South Korean company (and to a lesser extent, LG). Apple’s upward trajectory also suggests that it’s poised to overtake Samsung (because these figures don’t go beyond November 2014, it’s possible that’s already happened).

Kang believes that if there had been a better supply of high-capacity iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models, “Apple’s share could have climbed to the 40% level.”

Japan, meanwhile, has always been a historically strong market for Apple. But the release of its new handsets have buoyed it yet further: in November, it enjoyed 51% of the total market share.

Here’s Counterpoint’s graph illustrating that:

Apple Japan Market Share November 2014

Sony, a Japanese company, is one loser in Apple’s rise. But again, Samsung has seen significant drop-off in market share. In China, meanwhile, iPhone sales grew by 45% annually.

It’s damaging news for Samsung. The company has already announced falling profits this year due to competition from other smartphone manufacturers. But the new figures show just how close Apple is to doing what would have been unthinkable a year ago — stealing Samsung’s crown in South Korea.