Apple continues to dominate premium smartphone market with 51% global share

“Apple continues to lead global premium smartphone segment by capturing more than half of the market while OnePlus entered the top five brands in the premium segment for the first time ever in 2018 as competition intensified in the global premium smartphone segment [devices costing over $400],” Tarun Pathak reports for CounterPoint Research. “The segment grew faster than the global smartphone market, according to Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor 2018 service.”

“The segment grew 14% year-on-year (YoY) in terms of sell-in and 18% YoY in terms of sell-through,” Pathak reports. “Apple remained the market leader capturing 51% share of the premium segment, a significant lead over its nearest competitor Samsung which had a 22% share [with Huawei at 10%, OPPO at 6%, and OnePlus at 2%].”

“Going forward we estimate that the premium smartphone segment will continue to grow in double digits. By offering additional features like AI, triple camera, full-screen display, and higher memory configurations, smartphone OEMs are subtly increasing the average selling price (ASP) of devices. This also helps them leverage the gap created by Apple in the premium segment,” Pathak reports. “The next growth cycle in the premium segment will be driven by the emergence of commercially available 5G smartphones.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iPhone’s domination of the one market in which it competes, premium smartphones, continues unabated.

And, yes, $400 is quite a low bar for “premium smartphones.” For real premium smartphones, $600 and above, Apple’s share must be astronomical!

iPhone owners in the US spent an average of $79 on apps in 2018, up 36% YOY – February 11, 2019
Why Google is willing to pay Apple $12 billion per year – October 24, 2018
Analyst estimates Google will pay Apple $9 billion this year to remain default search – September 28, 2018
Apple thrives by going upscale: It is Economics 101 – September 26, 2018
Apple’s App Store is destroying Google Play in services and subscriptions – April 18, 2018
Apple takes U.S. market share from Android, dominates with 8 iPhones out of 10 best-selling smartphones – July 26, 2018
Apple’s iPhone X made 5 times the profit of 600 Android OEMs combined – April 18, 2018
Apple’s iPhone captured 86% of global handset profits in Q417; iPhone X alone took 35% of global handset profits – April 17, 2018
Apple App Store users spent nearly double that of Google Play users in Q417 – January 26, 2018
Apple’s iOS continues to attract content apps first, despite smaller unit share – October 30, 2017
Bernstein: Google to pay Apple $3 billion this year to remain the default search engine on iPhones and iPads – August 14, 2017
Higher income U.S. states use Apple iPhones; lower income states use Samsung Galaxy phones – September 27, 2016
iOS users are worth 10X more than those who settle for Android – July 27, 2016


  1. Comparing share in the “premium” segment remains an apples and oranges comparison. iPhone ASP (average sale price) is over $800, while ASPs for competing “premium” smartphones is about $600.

    The threshold for “premium” must be raised significantly to more accurately depict what is and what isn’t a “premium” smartphone.

  2. In other news, Pepsi has split the duopoly market for corn syrup drinks over 200 kcal per serving with Coca Cola.

    Let’s ignore the plebiscites who drink municipal water. They are not desirable MDN approved customers.

  3. This author knows this to be true, because he pulled them out of what part of his ass? Apple no longer gives iPhone sales by model. They only sell premium smart phones, so what great insight does he have? Hint… they own a lot more of the premium smart phone market than vapor stats “prove.”

    1. The “article” is an ad for Counterpoint Research. As the name implies, they use industry proxy data to guesstimate actual sales since Apple is too cagey to tell everyone what they are doing.

      As the previous poster implies, it’s pointless to hold a celebration for sales success in one segment. The article claims “close to 40 OEMs now compete in the premium segment globally” but it doesn’t even bother to indicate the parameters by which the segment is defined or name the contenders. Can anyone at MDN name more than a handful of handset makers? 30 of these supposed competitors must be so niche that only superspies carry them.

      Might as well compare sales of Maybach to Infinity. Never mind the 3x price gap, both are “premium”.

  4. Unfortunately, what really matters to big investors is global market share. Apple must be able to sell a huge number of smartphones even if they’re premium smartphones. It’s the sheer number of unit sales that are going to make the difference of whether Apple remains valuable or not. All I see are articles saying how Apple’s iPhone market share continues to fall to Android and ALWAYS said in a negative way. If Apple can no longer sell plenty of iPhones in China, then there’s no point in talking about just the premium market. Wall Street keeps praising Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi for stealing Apple’s market share in China which leaves investors greatly disappointed.

    With Apple no longer sharing unit sales with analysts and investors, there will be rampant speculation based on whatever metrics they care to use about falling iPhone sales and there’s nothing Apple can do about it. I’m sure it won’t be good for shareholders. There are too many factions hoping to see Apple miss expectations and if they have to falsify iPhone unit sale numbers, they definitely will.

    1. Investors care about three things.earnings per share, dividend payout, and (especially) growth prospects. They do not give a damn about whether Apple sells smart phones or toilet seats, as long as the foregoing data are promising. The Apple bears are betting that Apple’s earnings per share have peaked and will decline. The focus on iPhone sales is due to iPhone being such a large percentage of current earnings. Apple bears hold onto the idea that “the tallest tree does not grow to the sky,” which is true, but the sky is much farther away than they estimate.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.