Apple and Samsung Are Poised to Extend Their Smartphone Dominance, according to GlobalData

Apple and Samsung already dominate US carrier portfolios and will extend their duopoly with LG’s exit from the sector. LG had 27 phones at postpaid wireless carriers in the US during Q4 2020, while Samsung had 84 – more than three times that of LG – and Apple had 346 – more than 14 times that of LG, according to the pricing and promotions, handset national retail trendlines US database, from GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Anisha Bhatia, Senior Devices Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Apple and Samsung have the tools to gain even more market power, even as competing OEMs vie for space. The smartphone business is getting increasingly difficult to compete in. Stagnation in hardware innovation, consumer saturation with high phone prices, and lengthened upgrade rates have led to slowing growth in shipments and hardware revenues.

“Apple and Samsung already have a stranglehold over the US smartphone market. The exit of a major recognized brand such as LG will benefit the dominant players as the OEM pool contracts further. It will lessen the influence of carriers over the choice of phones they can offer and make them more dependent on Samsung and Apple.”

The shrinking pool of OEMs and the inability to offer value-based phones from Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, Vivo and OPPO due to geopolitical tensions, will impact U.S. carriers and limit device selections for carriers and consumers alike, especially in the postpaid segment.

Bhatia adds: “Samsung and Apple have invested in their brands and put their financial might behind their hardware and software. The smartphone market operates on thin margins and it is difficult for other OEMs to compete without a similar scale of resources available.”

LG had a much stronger presence in the U.S. prepaid segment versus the postpaid segment, with 74 phones offered across 17 prepaid carriers, including MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators), as tracked by GlobalData’s handset web pricing US database.

Bhatia adds: “LG was well-positioned in the sub-$250 prepaid segment, so we can expect a portfolio shake-up with a chance for Motorola and Alcatel to gain share. Samsung has been steadily advancing its position in the U.S. prepaid market and will not let go of this opportunity to gain share, thereby extending its dominance into the prepaid segment as well.”

More Media