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Young Koreans favor iPhones over Samsung Galaxy: survey

By Moon Ki Hoon

Published : July 20, 2023 - 15:01

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In South Korea, 69 percent of adult smartphone users use a Samsung device, while only 23 percent use iPhones, a Gallup survey of 1,001 adults found.

But the survey reveals a starkly different trend in one demographic: younger millennials and Gen Z.

Graph of the Gallup Korea survey on smartphone brand preference by age group in South Korea. Graph of the Gallup Korea survey on smartphone brand preference by age group in South Korea.

Among the younger generation, aged 18 to 29, iPhone’s share rises to 65 percent, double the Samsung's 32 percent, the survey found. This represents a 13 percent increase in iPhone use from last year and stands in sharp contrast to older cohorts, where Samsung holds strong with numbers above 70 percent. In the 40s age group, 78 percent used Galaxy compared to 18 percent for iPhone, with the gap growing even larger in older age groups. For those in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, the figures stood at 86 percent versus 6 percent, 85 percent vs. 4 percent, and 71 percent vs. 1 percent, respectively, predominantly in favor of Samsung.

In its analysis, the survey credited iPhone's appeal among young people to Apple's premium branding – for the same storage size, an iPhone 14 (128GB) costs 1,250,000 won ($989) compared to the Galaxy S23's 1,150,000 won. Introduction of Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile payment service, to Korea earlier this year was cited as another contributing factor.

Meanwhile, 85 percent of respondents said they are likely to stick with their current brand, a sign of strong customer loyalty influenced by easier cross-device syncing and data-sharing within products of the same brand. This trend could mean long-term growth for iPhone’s market share in South Korea, the survey reported in its analysis.

In an effort to attract younger consumers, Samsung opened a flagship retail store in Gangnam last month, branding it a "playground for millennials and Gen Z.” The store is less than a kilometer away from Apple Gangnam, the company's fifth retail store in the country.