Samsung the most popular technology brand of 2013?

Best tech brands 2013

We test just about every tech product you could think of at Which?, from tablets and phones to the best indoor aerial for your TV. We also see the good and the bad of brands; from the big names, like Apple and Google, to less well known labels, like Lexmark and Lenovo. But which brand is your favourite?

We totted up all the visits to our website in 2013 to find out which brands you were looking at most. The winner? Samsung. The Korean giant gained more than twice the number of visits of second placed Canon and nearly four times the visits Apple collected. See below for the full results.

Popular tech brands

Samsung vs the runners up

There is no doubt Samsung has had a banner year. Sales of its flagship Galaxy S3 and S4 were slow but sustained, with the S4 emerging as a credible rival to the iPhone at the premium end of the market. And, while our tech expert didn’t have much good to say about his 48 hours with the Samsung Galaxy Gear, the smartwatch certainly grabbed the headlines and people’s attention.

Of course the stats above aren’t exactly a fair fight. Samsung produces a lot of products. While it might be best known for its phones and TVs, Samsung also makes printers, cameras and tablets, as well as fridges, ovens and vacuum cleaners.  If you wanted to you could kit your home out head to toe in Samsung. Just look at this infographic on the 26 Samsung tablets and phones the company had available earlier this year.

Canon, on the other hand, only makes cameras, camcorders and printers. Similarly, Apple only makes phones, tablets and iPods – well, and, Apple TV at a stretch. There are far fewer products for people to look for.

People searching for Google

More interesting are the brands on the rise. While Samsung also topped our 2012 most popular brands poll, and Apple finished mid-table, there were some significant movers and shakers this year.

For example, Google has almost doubled the number of visits it attracted in 2013; likely inspired by increasing interest in its Nexus range, including the latest Nexus 5 phone, and Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets.

Sony also saw a jump, climbing three places to fourth with the company’s Xperia phones flying off the shelves. Depending on whose numbers you believe, the Xperia Z1 smartphone was one of the biggest selling phones of November and December 2013.

Cutting through the hype

So, those are the products that were on your mind in 2013. But should they be? In our tests we go beyond ‘brand image’ to find out whether the products you’re buying are actually up to the task.

Which? members can access our full reviews and Best Buy information to find out which products perform best. If you’re not a Which? member you can try Which? for £1 and get instant access to all our reviews and expert advice.

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How we test phones – find out which internet TV boxes make the Best Buy grade
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How we test TVs – take a look at our latest reviews of smart TVs

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12 replies

  1. We’re supposed to take you seriously with your various product reviews – and you come out with this as a metric for popularity… Really? It’s only near the end that you qualify your specious, attention-grabbing, cheap headline with the somewhat more realistic “products that were on your mind in 2013”.

    Who can spot the errors in this line: “Apple only makes phones, tablets and iPods – well, and, Apple TV at a stretch”? No mention of their ranges of desktop and laptop computers? Or networking kit? Or storage devices? Or the OS? Or other software applications, both consumer and professional?

    You also missed out Canon’s digital projectors when you attempted to detail their product ranges.

    1. Hi Gary and Dave,

      I didn’t want to list every product each company makes as it would have been a very long and boring post. We’d all still be reading the list of Samsung products now.

      Macbooks are somewhere around 1% of market share. iMac is larger but in a smaller market. Certainly no bias intended. The extra products would make little difference to the size of traffic for any of the companies.


    2. Hi Rory

      You, as one of “the tech experts behind Which? and Which? Computing”, made the following simple statement: “Similarly, Apple only makes phones, tablets and iPods – well, and, Apple TV at a stretch.” That’s pretty definitive.

      I appreciate your point that reading a list of every type of consumer product made by Samsung might make for boring reading (at least for those diehard Samsung fans who are probably familiar with the full range). But there’s a big difference between keeping your writing short and snappy to avoid losing your readers’ attention – and stating something that’s totally incorrect and thereby losing your credibility.

      In spending just a few moments listing the other categories of products which they make, I wasn’t seeking to persuade people that the sizes or proportions of your web traffic was different than you reported. I was simply pointing out a basic error/falsehood/whatever which some of your audience won’t have the experience to recognise.

      “But that guy Rory from Which said it, so it must be, like, true…”

      As an employee of Which, you have a responsibility to be more careful with the posts you write here.

      I don’t understand your iMac marketshare comment: “It’s larger but in a smaller market”. The market for all computers sold? You seem to be distinguishing iMac market share from that of MacBooks.

      Speaking of which, I work at a medium sized university. As I walk through areas like the library, I see quite a few students using personal laptop computers (as opposed to the uni’s desktop PC’s). The percentage of them using Apple laptops compared to any other brand of laptop is considerably higher than 1%. I’d guess it’s an absolute minimum of 5% and probably nearer 10 to 15%. (Unfortunately, it’s difficult to quantify that scientifically, but that’s my impression.)


    3. I know this will surprise you -because you strike me as a bit of Apple fan – but what the guy is on about is that Macs are a tiny share of the total laptop market.! Just 1.8% last year. Your students can afford Macbooks because they’re rich and want to show off.!

      The truth is Apple have always been a small but important slice of the market. Most of what Samsung make is rubbish, Good to see Google doing better though.

  2. Hats off to Gary for pointing out the completely pointless.

    The author is pointing out that Samsung make a lot more products than the other manufacturers on the list – which it does. Your digital projectors and networking kits won’t change that.

    Get a friend or buy a book or something.

  3. Samsung are big news right now. They have the best phone out there and some of the best TVs. I think Apple fans will always be popular with Apple fans (and there are good reasons for that around how nice their stuff looks and works) but for everyone else just now getting to grips with phones and tablets, Android is the way forward. Apple will struggle to keep up when the S5 comes out and if Samsung manage to crack watches then watch out. There is more innovation over at Samsung these days.

  4. Whilst I agree that stating the extra products Apple and Canon make won’t make much of a difference to Samsung’s market share, it is remiss and inaccurate of the author to first state that Samsung can kit your house out ‘head to toe’, and then exclude a huge part of Apple’s product range (namely laptops, desktops and its software). I do expect, as a Which? subscriber, that their statements do not look biased yet this does seem to be very pro-Samsung.

  5. Samsung might be a popular brand, but try buying one of their mobiles outright at a reasonable price – no-one wants to sell you one and even Samsung themselvesdon’t reply if you ask about retailers. Yes, you can buy the ‘phones but only at ludicrous prices. I can only assume that this is because the networks conspire to try to force you into a contract, but some of us would rather manage our finances by paying upfront for the ‘phone itself, rather than be tied into a lengthy contract. I wish “Which?” would look into this.

  6. This article is just complete rubbish and only meant as free advertising for Samsung.. Fridges and vacuum cleaners are not “technology”.

    Please make your relationship clear to your readers and state “Which – Sponsored by Samsung” in your heading.

  7. Putting aside the personal attacks and accusations of fanboyism, I think the article headline is correct in that a manufacturer that has a much greater product range than others would appear to be ‘popular’ when measured simply in terms of searches including that name.

    There is a salient point however in that companies like Apple have a far narrower product range and thus when taken as a percentage of all searches by people looking for fridges and vacuum cleaners as well as phones and tablets, will come out as a much smaller figure. That then could be construed by some readers as being down to lack of popularity in the lines they do sell. What would have been much more useful would be to break the results down by technology, so for example Samsung may have been used in 65% of searches for fridges, but only 25% of searches for tablets. That could also be augmented by what percentage particular technologies make up of overall searches. E.g. if 50% of searches were for TV sets then little surprise Samsung and Panasonic come off as ‘popular’.

    Personally I have no allegiance to any particular brand and will go with whatever suits my requirements and wallet. I also believe that there is room for healthy competition and so don’t subscribe to the ‘highlanderism’ approach sometimes taken by the media. Final thought though (and I’m probably as guilty as the rest here in writing this post)… are we making a mountain out of a molehill here? There are bigger things to worry about in life =;-)

    1. Which is supposed to stand for unbiased, unpaid, commentary.

      This article is definitely biased, they know this, so why publish it? It just ruins Which’s reputation.

      In my eyes this puts them into the same category as any ad-supported, free, blog out there… Why should anyone pay for this…

    2. Not entirely sure I see this article as a particularly pro-Samsung piece, although I agree the headline does betray the content a little. However, if you follow the link ‘infographic on the 26 Samsung tablets and phones’ within the article itself, you’re taken to a page that actually critiques Samsung for offering too many products of a given type and actually has one Which? writer saying they prefer the more simple Apple strategy of one budget and one premium model.

      Not trying to pick a fight or anything, just offering this by way of a balance in Which?’s reporting.

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