updated 07:12 pm EST, Tue January 22, 2013
Second month running shows continued strong demand for iPhone
Apple's iOS platform has managed to capture the lead marketshare in the US for a second month running, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech monitoring American smartphone sales for the past 12 weeks ending on the 23rd of December. As with the last report, iPhone sales accounted for the majority of overall sales at 51.2 percent, a drop from the previous 12-week total of 53.3 percent but a huge gain from the same quarter a year ago. Android share suffered only a small year-over-year drop.
The percentage is part of a "moving average" of the previous 12 weeks, but the reports are issued monthly. In November, Apple achieved an all-time high share against combined sales of Android phones, capturing 53.3 percent for the 12 weeks ending in November as the iPhone 5 was more widely rolled out and available. In the November quarter, Android sales dropped to 41.9 percent -- a shocking year-over-year drop of 11 percent -- but bounced back to its year-ago average in December, with 44.2 percent of US sales, reports AppleInsider.
As was noted in last month's report, RIM's Blackberry platform suffered the largest contraction of sales, dropping from 6.1 percent share in the 12 weeks ending in December 2011 to just 1.1 percent of sales at the end of 2012. The November 2012 average was 1.4 percent, indicating that buyers are switching to other platforms or waiting for the BB10 platform and new BlackBerry handsets to arrive beginning later this month.
Windows phones continue to struggle to find a foothold in the market, dropping 0.1 percent in the latest report compared to the 12-week average ending in November, now at 2.6 percent. Sales of smartphones not running one of the four main OS systems jumped up slightly in the December average, taking nearly one percent as opposed to the 0.6 average of a month ago.
What is particularly striking about the iOS figures is not that the iPhone 5 is doing well in the months since its introduction, but that the rate of "switchers" coming to iOS from Android (and other platforms) continues to grow. Kantar reports that overall, 36 percent of iOS sales come from users changing from other platforms -- with 19 percent from users switching from Android, up 10 percent from a year ago.
The figures further show that the highest rate of "switching" from Android to iOS comes from Verizon users, and that iOS share on Verizon's network has climbed to 58.8 percent from 47.4 percent a year ago. On Verizon, Android is down to just 38.5 percent in the latest report.
Android is also losing share to iOS on AT&T, the US's largest carrier. While the iPhone approaches 75 percent of AT&T sales, Android has dropped from 22.5 percent a year ago to 19.6 percent at the end of 2012. On the other hand, fewer AT&T customers switch from Android to iOS -- only about six percent compared to 30 percent from Verizon.
Those upgrading from their previous iPhones account for around 35 percent of iOS smartphone sales over the three-month period, Kantar reports, again with an expected higher rate from AT&T users compared to Verizon users. AT&T is the overall US market leader in smartphone sales, at exactly one-third of the market -- though Verizon is right behind it at 32 percent. Sprint is approaching 15 percent market share since getting the iPhone, and T-Mobile will likely see an increase in overall business when it begins carrying the iPhone later this year.
It should be noted that the situation is almost completely flipped when considering the European market, where Android handsets have the majority stake with the iPhone a distant second. Samsung alone captures around 45 percent of all Android sales in Europe, while Apple achieves 25.3 percent of overall smartphone sales. In part, this may be due to the extensive advertising Samsung does in the region compared to Apple, and the more-attractive pricing on many Android handsets that aren't top-of-the-line.