FORTUNE -- "We may have underestimated Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) progress in China."
So begins a story in the International Business Times Friday reporting on the numbers in the first attached chart.
They come from an Upstream survey of 4,505 smartphone customers in five emerging markets in which respondents were asked what brand they hoped to buy next. Apple edged out Samsung 32% to 29% overall. The gap was considerably wider in China, where 42% said they wanted their next phone to be an iPhone.
How can this be? Apple's share of smartphone sales in China last quarter, according to IDC, was a slim 7%.
As part of a study of customer loyalty, WDS researchers surveyed 3,000 smartphone customers in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. Fully 76% of iPhone owners said they were sticking with Apple. Samsung came in second at 58%. No other smartphone manufacturer managed to break 40%.
By contrast, Samsung was the favorite choice of "switchers." Among customers who were switching smartphone brands or coming from a feature phone, 34% bought Samsungs vs. 24% Apple iPhones.
"This metric speaks a lot to the marketing might of Samsung," said WDS's Tim Deluca-Smith. "The company has been very successful in developing solid relationships with almost every mobile operator on the planet and then building devices to a variety of price-points. This exposes the Samsung portfolio to an enormous base of potential customers."
That sounds like Samsung.
An earlier consumer retention study by Consumer Research Intelligence Partners found that among people who switched smartphone brands, Apple was able to take three times as many Samsung customers (33%) as Samsung was able to steal from Apple (11%)
One more data point. The Upsteam survey found that although nearly a third of customers in the developing world covet the iPhone, they download their apps and other content from Google (GOOG) Play (40%) or directly from their mobile operator (26%). Only 28% are currently using Apple's App Store -- although judging from Upstream's litany of complaints, that could change:
These [non-Apple] app stores are not without their frustrations. Results from the report show that the most prevalent app store problem experienced by emerging market consumers is the high level of promotional messages received (24%), suggesting that users are not amenable to in-app advertising. Furthermore the data revealed difficulty in navigating app stores to find downloadable content (24%) is another primary frustration. For example, 1 in 5 respondents point out that app stores have a lack of personalised suggestions (20%) and 1 in 10 (11%) say a major problem with current app stores options is the lack of payment methods offered when purchasing content. With many emerging market consumers not having access to credit cards, it will be the app stores that cater to all payment methods that will achieve widespread success.
Catering to all price points and payment methods is not exactly Apple's forte.
While its competitors' average selling prices were falling, Apple's were rising.
FORTUNE --Apple (AAPL) bucked another industry trend last quarter, according to new research Fortune has obtained from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.
Taking a deeper look at a closely monitored smartphone metric, the average selling price (ASP), CIRP researchers found that while Apple's competitors' U.S. prices were falling last quarter, iPhone prices were rising.
ASPs for smartphones -- including Apple's -- tend to fall over time as MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 5, 2014 7:34 AM ET
As sales growth slows and prices fall, Apple is expected to keep skimming the cream.
FORTUNE -- The heyday of smartphone sales is over, according to an IDC report issued this week.
The U.S.-based market research firm expects growth in worldwide smartphone shipments, which approached 40% last year, to slow to less than 20% in 2014 and then within a few years to shrink to single digits: 8.3% in 2017 and 6.2% MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 28, 2014 7:42 AM ET
Whatever it plans to do with all that crystal-growing capacity, it will likely come out ahead.
FORTUNE -- What's Apple (AAPL) up to with that sapphire factory it's building in Mesa, AZ?
That's one of the questions Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi (who covers Apple) and Alberto Moel (who covers Corning) set out to answer in a two-part report to clients issued Wednesday -- the same, day, coincidentally, that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial anti-gay MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 27, 2014 10:15 AM ET
But Samsung had largest share in 2013 of fastest-growing segment: less than $30K a year.
FORTUNE -- The good news for Apple (AAPL) in a report issued Thursday by the NPD Group is that it still owns the biggest share of the richest and most profitable segment of the U.S. smartphone market.
One third of Apple's U.S. sales in 2013 were to Americans making more than $100,000 a year, and of that MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 21, 2014 12:08 PM ET
Many combatants fought the smartphone wars. Most are bleeding money.
FORTUNE -- Two sets of stats came out this week that should give the smartphone also-rans pause.IDC estimates that 95.7% of fourth quarter smartphone shipments originated either with Samsung (78.1%) or Apple (17.6%). Raymond James' Tavis McCourt estimates that in the broader market for mobile phones of all varieties -- smart and dumb -- Apple captured 87.4% of the industry's profits and Samsung 32.2%.
So MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 13, 2014 7:17 AM ET
None of the leading smartphones are optimized for the hottest shot of all.
FORTUNE -- "Selfies are great," says the New York Times' Molly Wood (rhymes with Hollywood), "but the front-facing cameras on cellphones are terrible."
"Selfies taken on most major smartphones," she writes in Thursday's issue, "are almost uniformly of poor quality. They're unfocused, pixelated, dark, blown-out, backlit, grainy and worst of all, distorted (I swear, I have a normal size nose!)."
Some may MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 6, 2014 5:05 AM ET
Here's a five-minute podcast that explains it in plain English (and in an English accent).
FORTUNE -- If you're not familiar with Ben Bajarin and Benedict Evans' weekly Cubed podcast, their latest episode -- What a Week in Tech! -- is a great place to start.
The two analysts have a lot on their plate: Google's (GOOG) sale of Motorola to Lenovo, reports of a Samsung-Google nonaggression pact, Facebook's (FB) new Paper app for IOS, and MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 1, 2014 11:41 AM ET
IDC, CIRP and Canalys all issued new smartphone market reports this week.
FORTUNE -- A few hours after Apple (AAPL) released its quarterly results Monday -- giving market researchers the only hard sales numbers they are likely to get from any smartphone manufacturer this quarter -- IDC released the chart at right, dutifully updated with the new iPhones sales number (51 million).
"Apple posted record shipment volume during 4Q13," according to IDC's press release, "driven primarily by MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 30, 2014 3:33 PM ET
Slowing Galaxy S4 sales helped push operating profits down 6% year over year.
FORTUNE -- Samsung had warned investors two weeks ago that there was bad news coming on the smartphone front. But the timing of Friday's quarterly earnings call -- one business day before Apple (AAPL) is scheduled to release its Christmas iPhone sales numbers -- could have been better.
Samsung no longer provides unit sales data, but Daewoo Securities estimates that the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 26, 2014 10:32 AM ET
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