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A notable shift is underway in South Korea’s smartphone landscape as younger users under 30 are increasingly opting for iPhones over Android devices. This surprising trend challenges the longstanding tradition of patriotic support for local brands, especially Samsung, which has enjoyed a dominant position in the country’s smartphone market.
Recent research by Counterpoint reveals that a staggering 53% of South Koreans under 30 now own an iPhone, signaling a significant shift in consumer preferences. This article explores the factors behind this transition and sheds light on why Apple’s brand image and camera performance are luring young users away from Samsung.
For years, Samsung has been the undisputed ruler of South Korea’s smartphone market, with a remarkable 63% market share as recently as the final quarter of last year. Historically, the majority of South Korean smartphone users under 30 have embraced Android devices, with 85% of them starting their mobile journey with popular brands like Samsung and LG. The strong patriotic sentiments towards local brands, combined with parental influence, contributed to Samsung’s overwhelming popularity among the country’s youth.
However, recent trends have seen younger South Koreans shift their allegiance to iPhones at an unprecedented rate. Counterpoint’s latest research highlights that an impressive 53% of those under 30 now own an iPhone, signaling a remarkable departure from the conventional preference for Android. In contrast, only 8% of iPhone users have made the switch to Android, underlining the enduring appeal of Apple’s ecosystem.
One crucial factor driving this seismic shift is the iPhone’s exceptional performance, particularly in the realm of camera quality. South Korean consumers have lauded the device’s cutting-edge camera capabilities, finding immense satisfaction and excitement in the quality of their visual experiences. Apple’s focus on Research and Development in imaging technology has paid off, as the seamless integration of hardware and software in their devices has maximized camera performance.
Moreover, the brand image of Apple has undergone a significant transformation, resonating strongly with the younger demographic in South Korea. This transformation is largely attributed to the successful ‘Shot on iPhone’ ad campaign, which showcased the iPhone’s remarkable camera capabilities through collaborations with renowned artists and filmmakers.
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Notably, director Park Chan-wook, a prominent figure in the South Korean film industry, shot a film entirely on an iPhone 4 back in 2011, in partnership with iPhone carrier KT Corp. More recently, Chan-wook’s creative prowess was showcased in another film shot exclusively on the iPhone 13 Pro, further bolstering the iPhone’s reputation among the youth.
Among those who made the switch from Android to iPhone, the primary factors influencing their decision were “Performance” (32%) and “Brand image” (31%). The camera’s performance, in particular, played a pivotal role in the purchase decision, reflecting the growing significance of visual content in the digital era. Apple’s relentless pursuit of excellence in camera technology has undoubtedly struck a chord with young South Koreans.