Mobile

Samsung leads U.S. ad spending for smartphones, but Apple and others aren't far behind

A billboard teasing the Galaxy Note 3 in 2013.

Above: A billboard teasing the Galaxy Note 3 in 2013.

Image Credit: hardwarezone.com

Though Samsung remains the spending leader in the smartphone marketing race, several competitors, including Apple, closed the gap in 2013, spending more on advertising in the U.S. than in 2012.

Smartphone manufacturers have largely increased ad spending in the U.S. during the past two years as wireless carriers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless have shifted the focus of their advertising to the quality and value of their networks.

Samsung’s U.S. ad budget last year was $363 million, meaning the Korean-based company spent the most on advertising in the U.S. for the second year in a row, according to ad research and consulting firm Kantar Media.

Despite remaining on top of its competitors, Samsung was the only smartphone manufacturer to cut U.S. ad spending in 2013. Last year’s budget was down 10 percent from $401 million in 2012.

Apple closed the ad spending gap between itself and Samsung to $12 million in 2013 from $68 million. Apple spent about $351 million advertising its smartphones last year in the U.S., up 5 percent from $333 million in 2012. Of this budget, $339 million was spent on television spots, including the memorable ‘Misunderstood’ ad that launched during the holidays.

Nokia and Motorola rounded out the top four, as both companies’ U.S. ad budgets benefited from major shifts in strategy. Nokia’s spending reached $221 million in 2013, more than 15 times what it spent in 2012, as the result of announcing its partnership with Microsoft. Motorola spent $189 million in 2013, triple its ad budget in 2012, after it became part of Google in mid-2012.

It appears that the ad spending helped Nokia and Microsoft the most. The Windows Phone OS and the Finnish manufacturer saw the biggest market share increases in terms of percentage. Samsung also saw slight increases in market share from 2012.

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