The battle for smartphone supremacy is over and Samsung won.
There’s little to debate about that. Samsung sells far more smartphones than Apple does. Apple may make more profit on its phone business, but Samsung dominates the global smartphone market share, which some argue is more important in the long term.
Even though both companies had record smartphone sales in the final quarter of 2013, Samsung was still able to sell 35 million more smartphones than Apple did.
Now on to the next thing. Samsung is poised to crush Apple in tablets using the same strategy it did to win in smartphones.
Here’s how that works now. While Apple only sells three models of the iPhone, Samsung has more models than anyone can count. Dozens? Maybe. Who knows? But they all come in a variety of screen sizes, price points, and feature sets, meaning there’s an option for anyone, no matter what his or her budget or style is.
That “try everything” strategy from Samsung is now creeping its way into the company’s tablets. We’re already seeing signs that Samsung’s strategy in 2014 is to essentially flood the market with as many different types of tablets as it can.
And so far, it’s working.
At the Consumer Electronics Show this year, Samsung unveiled a few new top-tier tablets called the Galaxy NotePRO and Galaxy TabPRO that come with screens as large as 12 inches and as small as eight inches. (Most larger tablets have about 10-inch screens.) The 12-inchers will start at $US650 and cost as much as $US850 if you max them out.
So Samsung has the high-end tablets covered for the rest of the year.
Next, come the low-end tablets. Samsung already has a bunch of those, but there are some hints that more are coming that will cost as little as ~$100.
But will it work? Based on the information we have, the answer seems to be yes.
Here’s the latest chart on tablet market share from research firm IDC. While Apple and Samsung’s tablet businesses are still growing, Samsung’s is moving at a faster pace. Samsung’s tablet business grew 86% year over year to capture 18% of the market, according to IDC. Apple’s iPad growth is slowing, only growing 13.5% year over year for 33.8% of the market.
Apple’s iPad business seems to be a wildcard now. Growth is slowing overall, but it did see a nice spike at the end of 2013 and sold 26 million units thanks to the introduction of the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina display.
Still, the iPad business isn’t growing anywhere as close to as quickly as Samsung’s tablet business, and Samsung is poised to flood the market with a ton of new models in all shapes, sizes, and prices. Plus, Apple’s tablet market share is shrinking every year. At this pace, there’s a very strong chance Samsung will overtake Apple by the end of the year.
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