Samsung Galaxy Users Flee To Google Pixel And OnePlus, While iPhone Users Hold Firm

Samsung Galaxy S10 Phones
Samsung is losing customers to the competition in the Android space. According to new data from Counterpoint Research, over a third of Pixel 3 and OnePlus 6T owners in the fourth quarter of 2018 came from Samsung Galaxy devices. In stark contrast, less than one in five Pixel 3 and OnePlus 6T owners defected from Apple iPhone handsets.

The data highlights Samsung's recent struggles in the smartphone space, as it pertains to sales. Samsung is not alone in that regard—the smartphone market as a whole has slowed in recent months, so there is a bigger trend at play. However, competition from Google and OnePlus with their latest flagship phones exacerbates the issue for Samsung, which is a market leader.

For whatever reason, Counterpoint Research singled out Verizon for some of its research, noting that the Pixel family accounted for 7.3 percent of the wireless carrier's sales. The OnePlus 6T accounted for 6.4 percent. In other words, one out of every 10 phones sold at Verizon belonged to Google or OnePlus.

Phone Sales
Click to Enlarge (Source: Counterpoint Research)

"The newest Google Pixel lineup was certainly successful in terms of disrupting the premium market space at Verizon. Google invested a lot of marketing money during Q4 2018 resulting in strong sales of the Google Pixel 3 lineup. Over half of all new Pixel 3 owners came from Samsung," said Jeff Fieldhack, Resesearch Director at Counterpoint Research.

"A total of 31 percent of Pixel 3 sales came from previous Samsung Galaxy S7 owners. The Pixel was built to lead Android innovation and be a device to sway the iOS base over to Android. Over 80 percent of volumes are coming from its Android partners. This is probably seen as a disappointment," Fieldhack added.

One thing to note about all this is that Samsung only recently launched its Galaxy S10 series. Sales of those devices are not factored into the fourth quarter numbers. It will be interesting to see if there are a large number of defections in the current quarter, which of course we won't know for several more months.

Still, Samsung has some work to do. Just a couple of weeks ago, Samsung again warned of an earnings miss due to slumping smartphone and chip demand. The company also recently reported a 60 percent decline in year-over-year profits.

One of the main factors might be price. Like Apple, Samsung has been pushing increasingly expensive devices at the top end. It's Galaxy Fold carries a suggest MSRP of $1,980. The Galaxy S10 family is not quite as high, though still tops out at $1,599.99 MSRP for a fully loaded Galaxy S10+ with 1TB of memory.

Samsung might be finding out that Android users are not quite as willing to pay such premium prices, hence why so many former Galaxy owners are flocking to the Pixel 3 and OnePlus 6T. To be fair, it might not be just about Samsung, though. The Pixel 3 has one of the best cameras of any smartphone, and the OnePlus 6T is a solid all-around Android phone with a high bang-for-buck factor.