Apple's iPhone crushes Android to claim Q4 smartphone sales crown
Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS powered 51.2 percent of all smartphones sold in the U.S. during the 12 weeks ending Dec. 23, 2012, up from 44.9 percent in the year-ago period, according to new data published by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
Apple's fourth-quarter gains translated to market share stagnation for Android: The Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) mobile operating system fueled 44.2 percent of smartphones sold in the U.S. during the survey period, essentially unchanged from 44.8 percent in the period ending Dec. 25, 2011. Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry plummeted from 6.1 percent in the year-ago period to just 1.1 percent, behind Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone, which increased from 2.2 percent to 2.6 percent. Symbian accounted for 0.1 percent of U.S. sales, down from 0.2 percent a year earlier.
"Apple's continual improvement is thanks to both the iPhone 5 and older models attracting various customer groups, from repeat Apple buyers, first-time smartphone buyers and those coming from other smartphone brands," Kantar Worldpanel ComTech analyst Mary-Ann Parlato said. "In particular, 36 percent of iOS sales were derived from other smartphone users over the last year. While this figure remains stable over time, the proportion of Android users moving towards the Apple brand increases. 19 percent of iOS sales over the last year were derived from Android users, compared to 9 percent in 2011."
AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) accounted for 33.3 percent of smartphones sold in the U.S. during the 12-week period in question, down from 37.2 percent a year ago, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech reports. AT&T nevertheless remains ahead of Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) at 32 percent, up from 31.4 percent a year earlier. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) follows at 14.8 percent, down from 15.9 percent, and T-Mobile USA grew from 8 percent to 8.2 percent. Smaller U.S. operators increased from 7.4 percent a year earlier to 11.7 percent.
Although iOS also fueled 66.2 percent of Japanese smartphone sales during the fourth quarter, Android continues to remain on top in markets including Western Europe (dominating 86.4 percent of sales in Spain), Australia and China.
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