iPhone 6 interest wanes in South Korea after Galaxy launch

A report by the South Korean government has found that Samsung remains the country's number one choice for smartphones, despite the launch of Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus late last year.

Apple's iPhone 6 took South Korea by storm when it was released last year, successfully garnering a huge chuck of the marketplace, but its popularity has since waned due to the rise of competing products, according to a report from the South Korean government.

According to statistics released by the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning, in the three weeks spanning June 1 to June 21 this year, Apple controlled 13.1 percent of the market, Samsung controlled 63.4 percent, LG held 20.9 percent, and other firms together controlled 2.6 percent.

In the June to September period last year, Apple held 5.3 percent of the market, while LG had 26 percent, and Samsung topped the list, with 61.9 percent share. For Apple, it was one of the lowest market shares the California-based company has had in recent years.

After the unveiling and launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple grabbed a hefty chunk away from the Korean manufacturers on their home turf. As a result, in October to December 2014, Apple's share surged up to 27.3 percent, still runner-up to Samsung, which had 49.2 percent. LG took the main blow, with its share lowering to 13.8 percent.

Apple continued to perform strongly, and in January this year held a solid 22.3 percent. In February and March, it controlled 26.1 percent and 24.8 percent, respectively, at the expense mainly of LG. Samsung had 56.4 percent, 49.3 percent, and 53.6 percent in the same months, respectively, while LG held 17.5 percent, 20.9 percent, and 17.2 percent.

Samsung made a comeback in April with the release of its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, recovering its share to 69 percent. Apple's share steeply declined to 15.3 percent, while LG continued to be crushed by the two titans, with a mere 13.4 percent.

LG hit back with the G4, and in May recovered to 20.8 percent. Samsung maintained top dog status with 63 percent, while Apple's faltered to 13.4 percent.

Despite its relatively small size, the South Korean market is an important one for both Samsung and LG, as each collect around 10 percent of their revenues from their home country.

A ministry official told ZDNet Korea that Apple still has loyal fans in South Korea, and its iPhone 6 was a major global hit. Another shake-up may be likely once Samsung launches its upcoming Galaxy Note 5 and Apple unveils its rumoured iPhone 6S, the official said.

The data was compiled based on monthly sales filings to the ministry by local telcos SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus.