With Samsung's Note 7 off shelves, here's who wins

Samsung calls it quits on the Galaxy Note 7

Samsung relinquished a $9.5 billion opportunity ahead of the holiday season with its decision to stop sales and production of its Galaxy Note 7 — and other smartphone makers are waiting in the wings.

Apple, Google, LG and Chinese handset makers could be among the winners as Note owners look to exchange their phones, experts told CNBC.


Neil Shah, research director of devices and ecosystems at Counterpoint Research, told CNBC he believes that most Note 7 owners will go to Apple, which just released its iPhone 7 model. Indeed, Apple's stock, rising 2 percent, contributed the most gains to the Dow Jones industrial average on Tuesday morning.

"Those are premium customers who prefer a premium brand," Shah said.

Angelo Zino, equity analyst at CFRA Research, also predicted higher switching rates from Android to Apple over the next 12 to 18 months as Samsung's issues weigh. Tim Long, managing director at BMO Capital Markets, concurred.

"Part of our thesis on Apple all along has been, they are taking a good amount of market share from Samsung at the high end, and even from some other brands that are moving upmarket," Long told CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Monday.

Brian White, a Drexel Hamilton analyst, estimated in a research note that Apple could pick up at least 8 million extra unit sales this calendar year, out of the 10 million to 14 million Galaxy Note 7 phones he expected to be sold in the second half of the year.


The maker of the Android platform used by Samsung, Alphabet's Google recently stepped up its smartphone offerings with the Pixel phone.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said Monday in an interview with CNBC that most customers using the Android operating system are very loyal, and so Samsung's other phone, the Galaxy S7, and Google's Pixel, are both selling. Vivek Wadhwa, professor at Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering, also sees the Pixel as Samsung's real threat.

Other Android makers

High-end smartphone makers are increasingly seeing competition among midtier offerings from companies such as LG, and Chinese brands like Huawei, Oppo and others.

While Samsung and Apple shipped the highest volume of smartphones worldwide in the second quarter, by IDC estimates, companies like Oppo and Vivo are seeing big growth.

"Outside of Samsung's Galaxy S7 flagship, a majority of vendors, including Apple, have found success with more affordable models compared to their flagship handsets," Anthony Scarsella, research manager of mobile phones at IDC, said when the data was released in July.

But fellow IDC analyst Ramon Llamas estimates that the Note 7 is only about 10 percent of Samsung's phone shipments — and at more than 77 million shipments in the second quarter, the company is still set to be the world leader as far as number of smartphones shipped. Apple is a far second at 40 million units, Llamas said in an interview.

Plus, most of Samsung's sales are between $150 and $650 in price, and that's a totally different market than anyone else, Llamas said. Apple and Google play at the high end of the market, and other smartphone players are either lower-priced or regional, he said.

Tweet: "List of #Android competitors after Samsung: Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE, Alcatel/TCL, LG, OPPO, vivo. No one in striking distance to upend Sansung"

Llamas said he doesn't think that Samsung's issues will necessarily push people to shift to iPhone because of the costs of switching operating systems. "There's transferring all of your content or data. Repurchasing apps you may have already bought in the past. There's another cost there."

Still, as an owner of the Note 7 phone himself, Llamas said he's looking for assurances from the company that there won't be a repeat instance in Samsung's future phones.

"The takeaway is, turn in your Note 7 — period," Llamas said.

— Reporting by CNBC's Arjun Kharpal. Julia Boorstin and Saheli Roy Choudhury contributed.