Samsung beats Apple in smartphone activations during the first quarter

Samsung has taken the number one spot for mobile phone activations in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2018, according to the latest consumer report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP). Apple, on the other hand, kept first place for brand loyalty among customers.

CIRP bases its findings on its survey of 500 U.S. customers that activated a new or used phone between January and March. Of those 500 customers, Samsung accounted for 39 percent of activations — earning the title of most popular smartphone manufacturer this quarter.

Apple wasn’t too far behind as it took the second place spot with 31 percent — which is lower than the 40 percent of activations it had in last year’s fourth quarter. Meanwhile, LG came in third with 14 percent, and all brands accounted for 17 percent of activations.

But the report attributes Apple’s higher number last year to the launch of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. But with the launch of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus back in February, Samsung managed to snag the top spot while also returning to numbers it has seen in recent quarters.

As for brand loyalty, Samsung, Motorola, and LG have all increased loyalty rates within the past five quarters. Meanwhile, Apple has maintained its loyalty rate — with 80 to 90 percent or more of customers upgrading from their current iPhone to another. Samsung’s loyalty rates have reached over 70 percent for the last year, while LG and Motorola both increased several percentage points.

The report claims that while Android users remained loyal to Android, they would often switch brands because it didn’t require learning a new operating system — until now. “As fewer unique features are added to flagship phones, and brands have developed personalities with consistent user interfaces, consumers have fewer reasons to change brands, and more reasons not to when they upgrade phones,” Mike Levin, partner and co-founder of CIRP, said in a press release.

The report also notes that Samsung has been improving its share throughout recent quarters — specifically over the March and December 2017 quarters. This time last year, the company had actually lost share in comparison to the December 2016 quarter. With the anticipated release of the Galaxy Note 9, it will be interesting to see whether Samsung can keep its numbers high within the upcoming quarters.

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