To say much is at stake in the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the next iPhone launch is a huge understatement. Particularly for Samsung. After their debacle with the Note 7 with its fires and eventual recall, Samsung needs a win.
In fact even without the Note 7 issues, Samsung has much on the line. Looking at the launches and usage of the S5, S6, and S7, we see trends that highlight the importance of S8’s launch.
Samsung Galaxy 8 and Launch History
First, the Samsung S5 was one of the most popular and successful smartphones in history. S5 has been out for 3 years, and until early 2017, it was Samsung’s most widely used model – despite the launch of the S6 and S7. The S6 never matched the S5 in market share. And now, the S7 has taken over the lead as Samsung’s most popular phone (2.6% of total smartphone usage). But the big risk is the aging S5 population. Can Samsung hold onto these customers – representing 2.2% of the market today?
Samsung is pulling out all the stops to make the S8 a winner, hold onto their S5 legacy customers, and attract iPhone and other Android users. As of early April 2017, it’s too early to tell if this method works. But our MOVR report tracks real-time usage and we’ll provide updates soon. (Detailed and up-to-date intelligence is also available to customers under commercial agreements)
Apple’s Launch Risks
But Samsung isn’t the only story right now. Apple also has much at risk in the next launch. Like Samsung S5, the iPhone 6 was a blockbuster – capturing over 14% of usage at its peak in February 2016. Since then, the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 have captured much of this share. However, an interesting dynamic is the split in share of iPhone 6S and iPhone 7. One would expect the iPhone 6S to be on decline by now. However, the iPhone 6S is actually picking up (in terms of usage) in the last few months. Does this mean that users hate iPhone 7’s recent changes – e.g. no headphone jack? As an overall company, Apple seems to be keeping customers, but this trend is an interesting potential Achilles Heel. The iPhone 8 (7S?) launch needs to capture the imagination of 6, 6S and 7 users, or they might switch to Android and Samsung S8.
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