Even though it’s still selling a massive number of smartphones each quarter, Samsung’s sales and revenues have been suffering lately as the company faces increased competition in emerging markets. Another big factor has been the battle with Apple’s 2014 iPhones, which have both been selling tremendously well since their launch.
In fact, Apple’s iPhone 6 models may have helped the company sell well over 70 million iPhones in the Christmas quarter, which may be enough to threaten Samsung’s smartphone sales dominance.
As The Wall Street Journal reports, Samsung has been the world’s No. 1 smartphone vendor since the third quarter of 2011, when it passed Apple. But Samsung never beat Apple when it comes to mobile profits, even though it has been shipping far more handsets each quarter for years.
Apple on Tuesday will report its financial results for the December quarter, with analysts polled by Fortune expecting the company to have sold 66.5 million handsets during the period. More optimistic forecasts from UBS and KGI mention 69 million and 73 million iPhone sales, respectively.
Samsung is expected to post its earnings results two days later. In the third quarter of 2014, the company shipped 78 million handsets, making up for 25% of the global market, but down 34% from a year ago, according to data from Canalys.
“It’s going to be closer than it’s ever been since Samsung took the lead,” Canalys analyst Chris Jones said.
Not only did Apple potentially sell nearly as many smartphones as Samsung did last quarter, but it also sold more expensive handsets than Samsung. In traditional fashion, Apple did not chase market share by launching the mythical cheap iPhone that many people have been dreaming of, instead choosing to focus on the high-end market.
Meanwhile, Samsung has not only witnessed record iPhone 6 sales threaten its own flagships, but also cheap devices from Chinese and Indian Android handset makers that are beating its lower-priced Galaxy models in many markets.