Samsung overtakes Apple in US marketshare for the first time since 2017

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iPhone 12 Pro in Pacific blue
The lack of iPhone 12 may have hurt Apple.
Photo: Apple

For the first time in three years, Samsung sold more smartphones than Apple in the United States in the third calendar quarter of the year, market researchers at Strategy Analytics claim in a new report.

Apple accounted for a 30.2 percent market share of the U.S. smartphone market in Q3 2020. However, it lost out slightly to Samsung which made up 33.7 percent of the marketshare. The last time Samsung beat Apple in Apple’s home country market was Q2 2017.

In third place was LG Electronics, which accounted for just a 14.7 percent share of the market.

The reason for Samsung’s victory over Apple in the quarter likely involves the delayed launch of the iPhone 12. New model iPhones don’t usually make a significant impact until calendar Q4. However, their appearance in September does give the July through September quarter a boost for Apple. This year, the iPhone 12 handsets weren’t even shown off until October. This was due to manufacturing challenges related to coronavirus. Meanwhile, Samsung launched new flagship devices such as the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Z Fold 2 during the quarter.

The Strategy Analytics report (at least, as reported via the Korea Herald does not give unit numbers. That makes it tough to gauge relative success or failure versus last year. Given the economic impact of coronavirus, however, I’d be highly surprised if we’re seeing any record smartphone sales this year.

Ultimately, marketshare doesn’t matter as a metric nearly so much as profit. And Apple, no matter what, seems to dominate the industry when it comes to raking those in.