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- Apple releasing its top-of-the-line iPhone X later than usual gave a big bump to its biggest competitor, Samsung, in the UK.
- Numbers from Kantar Worldpanel show that Samsung had market share of 37.5% in the run-up to the iPhone X launch, compared with Apple’s 34.8%.
- Apple released the iPhone X in November, two months after its usual iPhone launch date.
- When the iPhone X did launch, it gave Apple a big boost in market share in the UK, and the firm regained the number one sales position from Samsung.
- That’s down to Apple superfans rushing to buy the iPhone X, according to one analyst, but mainstream consumers might not follow.
Apple’s delayed launch for the iPhone X gave a massive boost to its biggest competitor, Samsung.
According to statistics from Kantar Worldpanel, Samsung made a huge gain in UK market share during the three months to September, rising 7.1 percentage points to 37.5%.
Apple lost share over that period to 34.8%.
Apple continued to lose share through September and October as a result of delaying the iPhone X launch until November. Normally new iPhones are released in September.
Analyst Dominic Sunnebo said Samsung had taken maximum advantage of the delay.
“Certainly in the UK, Samsung had a strong three months prior to the iPhone X,” he told Business Insider. “We saw Samsung hitting its highest ever share in the UK, and they took as much advantage as they could of that window. There was a significant amount of promotional activity, and it highlighted a bigger price gulf [with Apple.]”
Samsung released its Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus flagships in April, giving it a headstart of seven months on Apple. Samsung’s phones are at least £200 cheaper than the £999 iPhone X too.
Once the iPhone X came out though, the picture started to change.
While Samsung’s been the most popular smartphone brand in the UK all year, Apple took the top spot in November. The iPhone maker had its highest ever market share for the UK at almost 50%, almost entirely due to iPhone X purchases.
That’s good news, but the real test is whether Apple can maintain that position past November.
Sunnebo said: “It’s not surprising that in the first month of release you see the iPhone X doing very well, but obviously once that fan base has fulfilled its desire, the question is whether or not mainstream consumers will be able to stump up that kind of money.”
In other words, Apple superfans naturally bought the iPhone X as soon as it was out, but normal smartphone consumers might balk at paying almost £1,000 for a top-of-the-line iPhone the rest of the year. Even the cheaper iPhone 8 is pricier than rival flagships, starting at £829.