Google's Android platform may still hold the lead, but Apple's iOS is taking back lost market share in the U.S.
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Android has a commanding lead over all the other smartphone platforms, with 51.7% of the U.S. market as of February, reports comScore. But during the three-month period between November and February Google's presence in the U.S. dipped 2 percentage points, from 53.7%. Where did that 2% go? To Apple.
During the same three-month period, Apple's share of the U.S. market swelled from 35% to 38.9%. That's clearly still well below Android's numbers, but why the change between the two? ComScore offers two reasons: First, sales of big Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S III surged throughout the summer and fall months but began to fall off ahead of the holidays. Conversely, the Apple iPhone 5 reached the market just in time for the holiday shopping season, which helped Apple swing its momentum against Android around.
ComScore's data shows that 10.4 million new smartphones were purchased between November and February. Of these 10.4 million, a whopping 8.9 million -- about 85% -- were iPhones. Only 2.9 million -- about 28% -- were Android devices. (The numbers don't add up to 100% because of negative market share numbers contributed by BlackBerry.)
Speaking of BlackBerry, its share of the U.S. market dropped further, from 7.3% to 5.4%, while Windows Phone notched up from 3% to 3.2%, and Symbian held steady at about 0.5%.
Looking at the individual handset makers, we see a slightly different story unfolding. According to ComScore, 133.7 million Americans own smartphones, representing 57% of all cell phones in the country.
Of those 133.7 million devices, 38.9% are Apple iPhones. That means nearly four in ten smartphones sold belongs to Apple. A distant second in the OEM space, Samsung lays claim to about 21.3% of the U.S. smartphone market, thanks to devices like the Galaxy S 3 and Note II. Following Apple and Samsung, we find that HTC owns 9.3% of the U.S. market, Motorola owns 8.4%, and LG owns 6.8%.
Apple gained 3.9 percentage points in the Nov.-Feb. period and Samsung gained 1 percentage point. HTC, Motorola and LG all lost ground.
The timing of ComScore's report was clearly beneficial to Apple due to the swings in device launches and availability. You can bet that the next three-month period will see a surge in both Samsung's and Android's numbers (compared to Apple and iOS) once again as devices such as the Galaxy S 4 reach the market. Further, now that the BlackBerry Z10 is available in the U.S., BlackBerry's numbers will surely make some changes in time for ComScore's next report. It will be interesting to see just how far the numbers adjust.
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