Samsung and Apple are the only two smartphone vendors currently seeing growth in the United States, and although it was Apple that saw the most between September and November of last year, it’s Samsung who will attract most customers throughout 2013. The Korean electronics giant will see 35% growth over the next 12 months, according to Strategy Analytics, further increasing the lead over its arch rival in Cupertino.
“We expect Samsung to slightly extend its lead over Apple this year because of its larger multitier product portfolio,” Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, told Reuters.
On the whole, smartphone sales are expected to jump 27% to 875 million in 2013. That’s significantly less than last year’s 41% jump, but a drop is expected as growth eases in several key markets, including North America and China, and parts of Asia and Western Europe.
Of those 875 million smartphones sales, Samsung is forecast to sell 290 million, up from a projected 215 million in 2012. In comparison, Apple is expected to sell 180 million iPhones, up 33% from last year. That’s still a sizable increase, of course, but it doesn’t quite match Samsung’s 35%, which will give the Korean company a 33% share of the smartphone market, compared to Apple’s 21%.
It’s thought Apple could introduce a smaller, cheaper “iPhone mini” in an effort to appeal to the demands of budget-minded consumers, and claw away at some of Samsung’s market share. However, that seems like a move the company is highly unlikely to make. Samsung, on the other hand, will continue to roll out a range of popular devices aimed at all segments of the market.
In addition to the Galaxy S IV, a successor to its hugely popular Galaxy S III, we’re also expected a Galaxy Note III and a series of other smartphones.
“Samsung plays in more segments and this should enable it to capture more volume than Apple (assuming Apple does not launch an ‘iPhone Mini’ this year),” Mawston told Reuters.
Brian J. White, a researcher at Topeka Capital Markets, is optimistic over an “iPhone mini,” but he doesn’t think it’ll appear this year.
“We think Apple will have to launch an ‘iPhone Mini’ at some point over the next three years to address the hundreds of millions of prepaid users worldwide that cannot afford the current iPhone,” White said. “The iPhone 5 is growing fast and profitably right now, so there is little incentive for Apple to launch an ‘iPhone Mini’ this year.”
“We expect the iPhone Mini to be more likely next year, in 2014 when … Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth streams,” he said.