It was estimated that Apple accounted for 30 percent of the Korean smartphone market in the fourth quarter of last year. The “Battery-gate” of old iPhone models which stirred up big controversy late last year did not have a big impact on demand for the iPhone in South Korea.
According to market research firm Strategy Analytics (SA) on February 19, Samsung Electronics shipped 2.4 million units in the Korean smartphone market in the fourth quarter of last year and recorded a market share of 46.0 percent while Apple, 1.5 million units and a market share of 28.3 percent. Samsung and Apple ranked first and second in the Korean smartphone market. The market share of Samsung Electronics dropped 9% points compared to the same period last year (55.0 percent) and that of Apple spiked 3.3 percent from 25.0 percent of last year. LG Electronics chalked up a 15.7-percent market share by shipping 800,000 units, nearly doubling from 8.3 percent in the same period of last year.
In 2017, Samsung Electronics accounted for 56.2 percent of the Korean smartphone market, followed by Apple with 17.7 percent and LG Electronics with 17.4 percent. In 2016, Samsung Electronics recorded a 55.0-percent market share, Apple, a 15.6-percent market share and LG Electronics, a 17.0-percent market share. "Apple Store, which opened in Korea last month for the first time, is expected to have Apple's presence felt more strongly in the Korean market," SA said. "We predict that LG Electronics will have an uphill battle, unless the company comes up with something innovative this year.”
Apple's iPhone X launched in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the iPhone failed to continue its early boom due to its high price of around 1.5 million won and antipathy toward its notch design. However, with the release of the iPhone X, Apple’s Korean market share expanded as its lineup diversified from ultra-high-priced to mid- to low-priced models. The average daily combined sales of the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X reportedly reached 120 percent of sales of the iPhone 7. In addition, wireless telecom carriers significantly lowered prices of older iPhone models such as the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6S with an eye toward clearing inventories, the older iPhone models that became "mid- to low-priced phones" and therefore, their sales ballooned.