Apple Knowledge

Full Analysis of Apple Inc. Competitors

Apple's main competitors include Samsung Electronics, Google, Microsoft, HP, Huawei and PayPal.

Business competition can be found in every industry, every product category or every geographic market in the world. It benefits the consumers and is the main reason innovation happens. Nonetheless, businesses (including Apple Inc.) hate it and try to avoid it or beat it at all costs.

Apple competes in many highly competitive product categories, such as smartphones, tablets, mobile payments, laptops, smartwatches, enterprise software and application software.

The rivalry in each product category is fierce. Apple knows it. That’s why the company acknowledges that the competition is the main threat to its profit margins and growth.

“The markets for the Company’s products and services are highly competitive and the Company is confronted by aggressive competition in all areas of its business.
The Company’s financial condition and operating results can be adversely affected by the competition.”

Apple’s competitors are not going away anytime soon, so we provide the full list of all Apple Inc. rivals and analyze them using our unique framework.

Apple Competitor Analysis by Product Categories

Smartphones (iPhone’s competitors)

  • Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
  • Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
  • LG Electronics Inc.
  • Google Inc.
  • HTC Corporation
  • OPPO Electronics Corp.
  • Vivo
  • Lenovo Group Ltd.
  • Xiaomi Inc.
  • ZTE Corporation
  • Sony Corporation
  • BlackBerry Limited
  • Nokia Corporation
  • Motorola Mobility
  • Acer Inc
  • AsusTek Computer Inc
  • OnePlus
  • Meizu Technology Co., Ltd
  • Vodafone Group plc
  • Xolo
  • Lava International Ltd.
  • Micromax
  • BLU Products
  • Gionee
  • LeEco
  • Panasonic Corporation
  • Hewlett-Packard Company
  • YU Televentures
  • InfoSonics Corporation
  • Maxwest Telecom
  • Plum Mobile

Apple’s main competitor in the smartphone category is Samsung with its Galaxy S smartphones. Other direct Apple rivals are Huawei, HTC, Google and LG. The rest of the rivals are either too small or target different consumer segments and do not pose an immediate threat to the iPhone’s market share or its margins. More on the Apple’s smartphone competitors read our article here.

Apple's key competitors in smartphone industry are Samsung Electronics, Huawei, OPPO and Vivo.

Source: IDC

Tablets (iPad competitors)

  • Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
  • Amazon.com, Inc.
  • Lenovo Group Ltd.
  • Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
  • Barnes & Noble, Inc.
  • AsusTek Computer Inc
  • Acer Inc
  • Xiaomi Inc.
  • LG Electronics Inc.
  • Sony Corporation
  • Google Inc.

Even though the tablet market is declining, Apple is still an absolute leader in it with over 20% market share, according to IDC. Again, Samsung’s Galaxy Tabs are the main direct rivals to Apple’s iPads, with over 15% market share. Amazon.com was the only of the top 5 tablet makers, which was able to grow its market share significantly, threatening Apple’s and other tablet vendors’ positions.

Apple's key in the tablets industry are Samsung Electronics, Amazon.com, Lenovo and Huawei.

Source: IDC

Personal Computers (Mac competitors)

  • Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Lenovo Group Ltd.
  • Dell Inc.
  • AsusTek Computer Inc
  • Acer Inc
  • Toshiba Corporation
  • Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
  • Sony Corporation
  • Fujitsu Ltd
  • Yun Sen Tech

Apple’s position in the personal computer (PC) market isn’t as strong as in the smartphones or the tablets markets. The company only captured 7.1% market share in the second quarter of 2016. Every PC vendor has a few offerings that directly compete with the premium quality Apple’s Mac PCs and usually offer better hardware or the lower price.

Apple's key rivals in pc industry are Lenovo, HP, Dell and Asus.

Source: IDC

Smartwatches (Apple Watch competitors)

  • Garmin Ltd.
  • Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
  • Lenovo Group Ltd.
  • Fitbit Inc.
  • Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
  • LG Electronics Inc.
  • Sony Corporation
  • AsusTek Computer Inc
  • TAG Heuer S.A.
  • Timex Group USA, Inc.

After a tremendous success in the first year, Apple Watch sales have declined by 70% in the 3Q 2016 when compared to the same quarter in 2015. Nonetheless, Apple Watch is still a leader in the smartwatch market with over 40% market share. Garmin and Samsung, the two closest rivals, are challenging Apple Watch by growing their market share in the declining smartwatch market.

Apple's key competition in smartwatches industry are Garmin, Samsung Electronics, Lenovo, Fitbit.

Source: IDC

Operating systems (iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS competitors)

  • Google Inc. (Android, Chrome OS, Android Wear, Android Things)
  • Microsoft Corporation (Windows, Windows Phone)
  • Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Tizen)
  • Canonical Ltd., Ubuntu community (Ubuntu)
  • BlackBerry Limited (BlackBerry OS)

Nearly every PC, except Apple’s Mac computers, is sold with preinstalled Microsoft Windows OS. According to the Net Market Share nearly 90% of computer run Windows OS and only about 6% PCs use macOS, revealing that Apple’s major competitor in PC OS market is Windows.

The same goes with mobile OS market. Android is being installed in every smartphone, except Apple’s iPhones and some models of Nokia’s and BlackBerry’s smartphones. Android controls over 80% of the mobile OS market and seriously threatens to erode the major Apple’s advantage – Apple’s proprietary iOS and its ecosystem.

Apple's key rival in mobile OS industry is Android.

Source: IDC

Internet services (iTunes, App Store and iBooks Store competitors)

  • Google Inc. (Play Store)
  • Microsoft Corporation (Windows Phone Apps)
  • Amazon.com, Inc. (Amazon Prime Video, Kindle Store, Digital Music)
  • Spotify AB (Spotify)
  • Deezer
  • Tidal
  • Netflix Inc. (Netflix)
  • Hulu LLC (Hulu)
  • Barnes & Noble, Inc.

Apple’s services accounted for over US$24 billion in revenue in 2016 alone. The competition for each service is fierce because switching between the services is, in most cases, very easy. Apple is being rivaled by huge corporations such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon.com as well as smaller, but no less competitive companies.

Mobile Payments (Apple Pay competitors)

  • Google Inc. (Android Pay)
  • Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Samsung Pay)
  • Capital One Financial Corporation (Capital One Wallet)
  • PayPal Inc. (PayPal)
  • Merchant Customer Exchange LLC (CurrentC)
  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Walmart Pay)

Android Pay and Samsung Pay are the main Apple Pay competitors in the mobile payment market. Apple Pay enjoys wider adoption of its mobile payment system, than its rivals and has some advantages, such as huge database of credit/debit card information.

Here’s the list of Apple Inc. main competitors in a picture.

The list of Apple competitors by product category.

Major Apple competitors

In order to identify the major (more serious, more important) Apple competitors we have devised a unique evaluation framework. The framework consists of weights, ratings and a score to show us, which competitors Apple should focus on the most.

  • Weights. Weights show us how important each product category is to the company when looking at the revenue generated by each product or group of products. Each product or group of products are assigned weights ranging from 0.0 (unimportant) to 1.0 (very important). The sum of all the weights must equal 1.0.

    According to the Apple’s financial report, the company has five reporting product categories. iPhone generated 63% of the total sales, iPad 10%, Mac 11%, Services 11% and Other Products 5% of the total sales. This gives each product the following weights: iPhone 0.63, iPad 0.10, Mac 0.11, Services 0.11 and Other Products 0.05.

  • Ratings. Competitors are given ratings from 1 (minor competitor) to 4 (major competitor). The level of competition is decided by looking at the competitor’s market share and whether it targets the same consumer segment. Ratings are assigned subjectively.

  • Score. Weights multiplied by ratings give a score. A competitor having the highest score is the most serious threat to Apple.

Apple Competitor Matrix
Product Category Competitor Weight Rating Score
Smartphones (iPhone) Samsung 0.63 4 2.52
Huawei 0.63 3 1.89
OPPO 0.63 2 1.26
Vivo 0.63 2 1.26
LG Electronics 0.63 2 1.26
Google 0.63 3 1.89
Tablets (iPad) Samsung 0.10 3 0.30
Amazon.com 0.10 4 0.40
Lenovo 0.10 2 0.20
Huawei 0.10 2 0.20
Personal Computers (Mac) Lenovo 0.11 4 0.44
HP 0.11 3 0.33
Dell 0.11 3 0.33
Asus 0.11 3 0.33
Services (Internet Services, Apple Pay, Apple Care) Google 0.11 4 0.44
Microsoft 0.11 3 0.33
Samsung 0.11 2 0.22
Amazon.com 0.11 3 0.33
Spotify 0.11 1 0.11
Netflix 0.11 1 0.11
Other Products (Smartwatches, Apple TV, Accessories) Samsung 0.05 4 0.20
Garmin 0.05 2 0.10
Lenovo 0.05 2 0.10
Amazon.com 0.05 1 0.05

As expected, Samsung Electronics got the highest score of 3.24. The company is the main Apple’s rival in the smartphones, tablets and smartwatches industries. Google follows in the second place with 2.33 points. I gave Google a rating of 3 in the smartphones category, because of its Android OS, which isn’t the huge money earner, but its success significantly helps every other smartphone manufacturer to compete with Apple and its iOS. Huawei became the 3rd highest scorer with 2.09 points mainly due to its high-end smartphones success, especially in the U.S. market.

OPPO, Vivo and LG Electronics share 4-6 places with 1.26 points each due to their considerable market share in the smartphones’ market. Amazon (0.78 points) threatens Apple’s tablet sales and its revenue from ‘Services’ as well as Apple TV sales. Lenovo (0.74) is a serious rival in the tablets, personal computers and smartwatches markets.

Apple's major competitors by order of importance are: Samsung Electronics, Google and Huawei.

What should Apple do next?

Apple competitor analysis reveals that Apple should focus on its smartphone competition first. The smartphone market is worth hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars and is the main income source for the company. Apple still enjoys the most loyal customer base in the industry, but should not disregard the demand for innovations. Otherwise its proprietary OS and its ecosystem won’t be enough to keep the customers around.