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Apple, closer to Android in the US as Carrier Distribution Grows

08/07/2013

While smartphone sales overall have remained relatively stable in the 3 months ending May 2013, compared to the same period last year, iOS has grown, with a 3.5% increase during that time.

Consequently, with Android remaining unchanged (+0.1%) to date this year, the gap between the two leading operating systems has decreased, according to data released today by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Through the 3 month period ending May 2013, Android continues to lead smartphone sales at 52%. Close behind is iOS with 41.9% of sales. Windows remains in third with 4.6% of sales, up 0.9% versus the same period last year.

Little movement is seen within the carriers, with Verizon leading smartphone sales at 34.6%, AT&T in second (29%), and Sprint in third (12.7%). Most notably, T-Mobile remains in fourth place with 10.1% of smartphone sales, down 3.4% versus the 3 months ending May 2012.

The data is derived from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech USA’s consumer panel, which is the largest continuous consumer research mobile phone panel of its kind in the world, conducting more than 240,000 interviews per year in the U.S. alone. ComTech tracks mobile phone behavior and the customer journey, including purchasing of phones, mobile phone bills/airtime, and source of purchase and phone usage. This data is exclusively focused on the sales within this 3 month period rather than market share figures. Sales shares exemplify more forward focused trends and should represent the market share for these brands in future.

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech global consumer insight director Dominic Sunnebo states, “The highly anticipated release of the iPhone on T-Mobile has benefited iOS in the latest 3 month period, though it has not yet impacted T-Mobile’s share in the market.”

For the three months ending May 2013, the iPhone 5 was the best-selling smartphone at T-Mobile, despite the fact that it came out in the middle of the sales period in April. And iPhone sales accounted for 31% of T-Mobile’s smartphone sales over this period. While this is comparatively lower than AT&T (iOS accounting for 60.5% of AT&T sales) and Verizon (43.8%), a full quarter’s worth of purchasing next month may impact T-Mobile’s overall sales share.

Sunnebo continues, “iOS’ strength on T-Mobile appears to be the ability to attract first time smartphone buyers, upgrading from a featurephone. Of T-Mobile consumers who bought an iOS device since it launched on the carrier, 53% had previously owned a featurephone, well above the market average of 45% of iOS owners who previously owned a featurephone.”

“Furthermore, of T-Mobile customers planning to change device within the coming year, 28% plan to upgrade to an iPhone for their next device.”

It remains to be seen whether the strength of iOS on T-Mobile can help reverse T-Mobile’s decline, but the upcoming months will be of key importance for both players, particularly to see whether these consumers do follow through with their intentions.

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iOS sees the highest growth over the year through May thanks to sales on T-Mobile

iOS sees the highest growth over the year through May thanks to sales on T-Mobile

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Dominic Sunnebo
Global Consumer Insight Director

Read the previous US ComTech report

Download all market shares here