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The iPhone 15 series is causing a stir in Samsung’s territory due to its popularity.

According to The Korea Herald (via 9to5Mac), the iPhone 15 series is enjoying better sales than the iPhone 14 line in Samsung’s own backyard compared to the reaction in nearby countries such as Japan and China where the newest models have received less than a warm greeting from consumers. In South Korea, sales of the iPhone 15 series rose a strong 41.9% after the first month of release compared to the first month of sales for the iPhone 14 line last year based on data from Atlas Research and Consulting.

The basic iPhone 15 model saw sales in South Korea more than double compared to sales last year of the iPhone 14 during the same time period. Sales of the iPhone 15 Pro Max in South Korea increased by 42.3% over its predecessor year-over-year. The iPhone 15 Pro captured nearly 50% of the line’s sales in South Korea during the first month with the basic iPhone 15 accounting for 30.7%.

In South Korea, Samsung phones not only had the advantage of being made by a South Korean firm, but Samsung’s call recorder app has been a very popular selling tool. Wireless firm SK Telecom introduced call recording capabilities for its own iPhone app this year which has helped the iPhone in the country. Also helping are cash incentives being offered by Korean carriers and the debut of Apple Pay.

An anonymous industry source was quoted by the Korea Herald as saying, “Telecom companies are competing with each other to encourage the purchase of a new smartphone by granting hefty cash incentives worth up to 450,000 won ($347.20).” Typically, in South Korea, the iPhone would receive a smaller subsidy from carriers than Samsung Galaxy phones which usually receive a subsidiary of 200,000 won ($153.52). The combination of SK Telecom’s iPhone app, and higher carrier subsidies are helping the iPhone rack up huge sales in Samsung’s back yard.

In Japan, where consumers prefer smaller handsets, the first week that the iPhone 15 series was available in the country, sales of the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini doubled. Since those smaller models are no longer available from Apple, Japanese consumers are visiting secondhand stores in an attempt to find those two models. Apple replaced the iPhone mini line last year with the iPhone 14 Plus. That model, and the iPhone 15 Plus, both sport large 6.7-inch displays compared to the 5.4-inch displays on the two mini models.

Last year, South Korea was in the third tier of countries selling the iPhone which means that the iPhone 15 series wasn’t released in the country until October. Despite the strong improvement in iPhone sales in South Korea this year, analysts say that it is unlikely that Apple will release the iPhone 16 line earlier in the country because Samsung still dominates the smartphone market in the country.

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