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Apple vs. Samsung: Is Samsung Making a Comeback in Gen-Z?

Updated: May 21, 2022

To Gen-Z It is common knowledge that most young smartphone users wouldn’t be caught dead with a Samsung device in their hands. Whether it’s because of the dreaded green text bubble or the fear of being left out of blue iMessage group chats, Gen-Z’s love for Apple exceeds any other smartphone brand.

Just how much does Gen Z love Apple? In a 2017 survey, 52% of ‘Zoomer’ participants were more likely to use iPhones than any other device. This statistic is higher than any other generation, with Millennials coming in second place at 38%. In a survey conducted by Flurry Analytics, 53% of all Apple users are under 35, making iPhone the It Device for the younger generations.

Despite its allure, Apple phones are not actually better than other brands. The company’s main competitor, Samsung, offers smartphones at an equal to and cheaper price point than Apple that offer better specs (such as with their latest S21 series). Purchasing a Samsung mobile device gives consumers more bang for their buck than an Apple smartphone. With such great specs, it’s not like Samsung does not have any fans either. Flurry Analytics reports that 65% of Gen X use Samsung, a great difference from Gen-Z’s usage.

So, why aren’t Gen-Z drawn to Samsung? As the first generation of digital natives, zoomers grew up with smartphones and the internet. For many, this meant their very first phone may have been an iPhone. “Positive experiences with Apple products at an early age could lead to trust, habit formation, and brand loyalty that could last until adulthood”, AdColony states. Many Apple users know Apple Brand Loyalty is no joke, locking users into its ecosystem of devices and iOS.

While brand loyalty is an overwhelming force, it isn’t enough to turn Android users into iPhone lovers. We have to understand what Zoomers look for in a smartphone and how Apple hits the mark. Teens’ top downloaded apps include mostly social media applications, which Apple’s interface is specifically designed for. Have you ever noticed that apps like Instagram look so much better on an iPhone? Stories come out cleaner; photos come out crisp. Even scrolling on the app seems smoother. This is due to Apple’s IOS having only a few devices and screen sizes to be programmed for. With so many Android devices out there (Samsung, Huawei, Google, etc.), optimizing the Instagram app for each device would be an API nightmare that companies do not want to deal with.

So, how can Samsung make a comeback in Gen-Z? The answer may surprise you. In 2020, Samsung launched their S20 series, with a special edition by the internationally-loved Korean pop group Bangtan Boys (commonly known as BTS). This version sported a metallic purple heart design in line with BTS’s own color and brand. It sold out in less than an hour, making the Samsung Galaxy S20+ BTS Edition the most popular cell phone of March. Samsung’s use of the boyband didn’t stop there, launching the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 a year later, complete with a remix of its default ringtone by BTS member Suga.

Can BTS really turn the tides for Samsung in Gen Z? The answer, frankly, is yes. They have over 40 million fans worldwide, with the majority of the audience being Gen-Z. The BTS Army Census-- a 2020 international survey with more than 400,000 participants-- showed that 50.31% of BTS fans are under 18 and 42.59% are 18 to 29. This would not be the first time that BTS made record sales, such as with BTS members Jungkook’s fabric softener and Jimin’s sunglasses.

While BTS themselves most likely won’t be enough for Samsung to surpass Apple, Samsung’s endorsement along with the innovative technology and design shown in their newest releases is enough to sway many Gen-Z users.

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