Apple is killing it on Samsung’s home turf

513451577GF003
Getty Images

Apple is threatening Samsung's dominance on its home turf, as the iPhone maker wins over South Korean consumers with its large-screen smartphones.

The iPhone maker captured a record 33 percent of smartphone sales in South Korea in November, according to Counterpoint Research, the first time a foreign brand has exceeded the 20 percent market share in the history of the country's smartphone industry.

Samsung's share of the market, meanwhile, stood at 46 percent – down from above 60 percent just six months earlier.

"[Korea] has always been dominated by the global smartphone leader, Samsung. But iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have made a difference here, denting the competition's phablet sales," said Tom Kang, research director at Counterpoint Research.

"If there was a better supply of iPhone 6 & 6 Plus 64GB & 128GB models during the month then Apple's share could have climbed to the 40 percent level," he said.

Apple's 5.5-inch 6 Plus, launched in September, been a smash hit with consumers in Asia, where there is strong demand for phablets – or devices with a screen size of 5-inches and above.

Other bright spots

Japan was the other bright spot for Apple in the region, where it captured more than half of the smartphone sales in November.

Read MoreWhy people pick Team Apple versus Team Android

"Japan has been one of the strongest markets for Apple and it is becoming increasingly difficult for competition to challenge Apple's dominance in near- to mid-term," Counterpoint said. "Apple will likely benefit from the upcoming Apple Watch with a growing and premium iPhone user-base in this highly advanced consumer market."

Apple also made significant headway in China, the world's largest smartphone market, recording record sales in the mainland in November as rich, urban consumers warmed to the bigger iPhone form-factors.

"This has helped propel Apple's smartphone market share to above 12 percent, capturing third spot behind Lenovo and the market leader Xiaomi," said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Research.

"Apple with iPhone 6 & 6 Plus has been able to impact Samsung's premium Galaxy S5 & Note 4 sales. But with launch of Xiaomi Note & Note Pro it is going to be a fierce battle in the premium segment, with Samsung being attacked from both ends."