Apple’s omnipresence in the Irish mobile market isn’t exactly a secret. The company has enjoyed tremendous success here; consistently occupying over 40% of the market so far this year. So much so, in fact, that Apple’s iPhone accounted for about a quarter of the growth in the Irish economy in 2017, according to an IMF report. Apple’s choice to base their European headquarters here in Ireland has benefited both parties mutually, as Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe where Apple is the largest manufacturer.
That being said, while Apple as a brand beats out all other manufacturers, iOS loses the battle to Android as a whole, in terms of market share. This is a relatively recent development however, with Android only overtaking iOS in September of last year. But what’s truly interesting is that Ireland is something of an outlier in this respect. Worldwide, Android owns more than 75% of the mobile OS market, and Samsung is the largest manufacturer by about 10%. This majority also holds for most European countries.
So why is Ireland different? What has possessed Irish consumers to go out and buy Apple devices over Samsung or Huawei? The answer may lie with our American neighbours. It’s worth noting that the United States also prefers Apple, with the company taking up over 50% of the market there. Ireland has a long and storied history with the US, taking after them in many ways. These US-centric links possibly explain why Apple is unusually popular here. Coupled with the fact that Apple has their European headquarters here, we start to get an idea as to the reasons behind the Cupertino company’s unprecedented popularity. Another factor is that – truth be told – in the beginning, Apple was the only company making good smartphones. This gave them a massive head start on their competitors. The other factors I mentioned above are likely what’s prolonged their popularity here in Ireland, while other countries have switched to Android.
But their competitors have not been idle since then, with companies such as Samsung taking huge steps forward with products like the Galaxy S3. As such, the days of Apple occupying most of the market appear to be numbered. They have been steadily losing their foothold in the market since as early as June 2011. This is also about the time that Samsung started to grow. Primarily, this is a result of the release of the Galaxy Nexus, which is what really put Samsung on the market as a mobile vendor. The Galaxy S2 was also released in 2011; paving the way for the Galaxy S3 the following year. The S3 was the device that really put the final nail in Apple’s coffin, selling 10 million units within two months. Apple’s share of the market has never been the same since, constantly losing ground to other manufacturers like Samsung and Huawei.
In conclusion, then, Apple’s once impregnable stranglehold on the Irish market is slowly but steadily loosening. While the company still has the lion’s share of the market, it’s nowhere near as impressive as it once was. Rival manufacturers are constantly gaining ground, and the market is becoming increasingly competitive. While this is virtually unavoidable as other manufacturers begin to catch up to Apple, there’s still a big danger that Apple’s share of the Irish market fall in line with the rest of the world. That being said, Apple’s new range of iPhones this year could shake things up. We’ll have to wait and see.