Samsung vs Apple: What British retailers think

Galaxy S IIIApple may have famously been described by a judge as being cooler than Samsung. But it seems British retailers don’t agree.

Samsung won a UK High Court case against its Californian rival last summer when judge Colin Birss said Apple’s designs had not been infringed because Samsung’s were not as cool as the iPad.

But, when it comes to smartphones at least, new research shows Samsung’s gizmos are the most recommended by British retailers

In a study, based on mystery shopping, Samsung Galaxy SIII was the most recommended smartphone to customers at eight leading retailers.

The research, carried out by Informa Telecoms and Media, included visits to John Lewis, Everything Everywhere, 02, 3, Maplins, PC World, Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U.

Mystery shoppers gave manufacturers points based on which phones were advertised either in the shop window or in the store itself. They then asked a sales assistant which three smartphones or tablets they would recommend.

The researchers found that Apple and Samsung were equally as likely to feature in advertising but that sales assistants were much more likely to recommend gadgets made by the South Korean firm.

Some stores did recommend Apple’s iPhone 5 but with rival manufacturers including ZTE, Motorola, LG, Huawei and BlackBerry-maker RIM had very few, or no, endorsements from phone store staff.

In a statement, Informa said the reason could be because it was “likely sales assistants see the Samsung devices as a safe bet to earn greater commissions.”

Informa spokesman Julian Jest said: “The mystery shop showed that the most recommended Samsung handsets were the Galaxy SIII and the Galaxy Note II, despite having been on the market longer than the latest handsets from Apple, Nokia and HTC.

“However, most surprising was the way that, despite an in-store advertising campaign and recent product launch, Apple was recommended in only two stores – 3 and Phones 4 U – with both recommending the iPhone 5.”

It is a further blow for Apple, which saw $50bn wiped off its value after reporting weaker than expected iPhone sales. It led to share prices in the Californian firm tumbling as Wall Street analysts revised their predictions for future growth.

Samsung, meanwhile, reported a 76 per cent increase in profits when it announced quarterly earnings. The soaring earnings were put down largely to strong sales of the Galaxy smartphones. But even Samsung is warning of decelerating growth.

The South Korean firm is widely expected to launch its next generation Galaxy, the Galaxy S IV at an event on March 22. Reports suggest the new gadget will launch with wireless charging capabilities. Another rumour has been that Samsung will be equipping the Galaxy S IV with a huge 4.99-inch full HD screen with a 1920x1080p resolution.

Informa’s market research comes after an earlier study which found that Samsung gizmos accounted for one in four of all mobile phones shipped worldwide during 2012, with shipments soaring by 20 per cent to 396.5m.

Apple shipments, meanwhile, increased by 46 per cent to a record 135.8m mobile phones sent worldwide during 2012.

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