updated 06:30 pm EST, Wed February 6, 2013
HTC, Motorola lose ground; Apple ticks upward slightly
As smartphones finally become the majority of the cell phones used by Americans, most of the options -- and all of the profit -- come down to mostly two companies: Apple and Samsung. In the latest comScore report on the US smartphone market, the company's MobiLens found that 54 percent of all US cell phones were now smartphones, representing 125.9 million customers. The latest numbers show that USconsumers are continuing to consolidate the market.
Apple's iOS platform, bolstered by the relatively recent release of the iPhone 5, continued to gain share in the December quarter, topping 36.3 percent of all US smartphones sold in that period, a two percent gain from the previous quarter. Samsung was again in second with a 2.3 percent gain to 21 percent even, with HTC and Motorola losing roughly the same amount of share that Samsung gained, reports AppleInsider. HTC lost 1.8 percent share over the holidays, with Motorola losing 0.7 percent. LG was able to increase its share slightly, reaching 7.1 percent.
Together, Apple and Samsung accounted for 57.3 percent of all US smartphone sales last quarter, leaving the second tier with 26.4 percent of the market and everyone else -- including former king of the hill Nokia, along with BlackBerry and Microsoft -- fighting over the remaining 6.3 percent. When viewed in context against the profit percentages, the next year or two will likely see some or most of the lesser players dropping out of what is (for all but Samsung and Apple) a money-losing race.
When looked at just by platform, Android retained its top position, but grew less than half as fast as the iOS platform in share, again due to the effect of Apple having a newer "flagship" phone. It will be interesting to see if Samsung's Galaxy S IV will be able to reverse the trend when it begins shipping in the spring. As seen in the chart below, iOS and Android both grew at the expense of every other platform (apart from Symbian's unchanging percentage).
Particularly hard-hit, once again, was BlackBerry's self-titled platform -- though the effect of the newly-available BB10 and new models will not be clear in the market for at least one or two quarters going forward, as the phone does not launch in the US until mid-March. Reviews of BlackBerry's comeback models have been kind but clear that the company has not yet brought anything disruptive enough to shake the trend, in much the same way Microsoft's alternative Windows Phone OS has failed to gain any traction in the marketplace.