Are Samsung shoppers really buying iPhones instead?

Potential Samsung purchasers seem to prefer iPhones, new analysis claims


“iPhone 6 demand, as measured by consumer review analysis, jumped when customers waiting to purchase and apparently open to buying a Samsung, instead chose an Apple iPhone,” said John Feland, CEO and founder, Argus Insights discussing the release of the latest consumer survey.

Apple has fought since its one time ally became its biggest smartphone OS competitor – and this is a new shift in the battle. You see, based on an analysis of over 622,000 consumer reviews from January 2014 through June 2015 Argus Insight, say overall US consumer demand for smartphones has declined by 8 percent. However, Apple is still growing (albeit slowly) because iPhones leads when it comes to “consumer delight”.

Note, no, good

In contrast, Samsung and other manufacturers are flagging badly. “Even the early launch of the Note 5 is unlikely to take share away from Apple unless Samsung delivers more than just upgraded hardware. It seems at this point, with such a flagging in consumer interest, that perhaps the smartphone market has hit a saturation point,” said Feland.

While this is one way to see the data, I see it differently. As I see it we are once again in the mid-summer period during which anticipation for the next Apple device always begins to build. Sales of all handsets dwindle as consumers prepare to upgrade to the latest device.

What does seem true is that these figures suggest Samsung has failed to generate too much consumer interest with its latest smartphone releases. “Samsung’s recent effort to refresh their line of handsets was met with a dwindling volume of lackluster reviews,” Argus notes.


That’s not to say interest in Samsung devices has evaporated – it hasn’t – but the analysis suggests it isn’t so strong and comes at the expense of other Android smartphone makers, compounding the melt down afflicting that side of the wider industry.

“While the new Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge created an initial influx in demand, those gains quickly fell off, and Samsung saw less happy, less interested flagship users,” the report explains.

Apple’s experience is very different. “During the same time, Apple saw increasingly positive attention for the iPhone 6 (launched in September 2014) and even the iPhone 5S which is more than a year old….Apple’s reputation for innovation is apparently keeping consumers happy and willing to invest in the brand.”

I think US consumers have become bored of smartphone marketing and want to invest in products that deliver on the promises made. They want devices with their own intrinsic identity and – beyond the market of Apple haters – they want solutions that define themselves as something more positive than simply “not being an iPhone”.

Lack of substance

Apple is in a good place as it prepares to introduce iPhone 6S, particularly as interest in Apple Music (and its soon to appear companion TV streaming service) will help stimulate interest in its products.

Such advantages may not last forever, of course, but eight years since the first iPhone appeared it seems a condemning criticism that Apple’s competitors appear to have utterly failed to define credible alternative experiences that aren’t simply defined by low cost or just by not being made by Apple. After all, how far can you go on substance-free attack marketing? How successful are you really being when you must sell ten products to make the profit a competitor makes selling just one?

Apple seems to have recognized the situation and that’s why it has made it far easier to dump Andriod for iOS in iOS 9, with its own Migration Assistant to enable this. After all, if it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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