Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) now owns more than half of the smartphone market in the U.S. according to the latest statistics from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. For the three months ending November 25, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) held 53.3 percent of the market share for smartphones. Meanwhile Android’s share of the market dropped to 41.9 percent. That’s down from 52.9 percent last year at this time.

iPhone 5 sale

That statistic is largely due to the iPhone5’s strong sales. As CNET points out, just one year ago Apple held only 35.8 percent of the U.S. smartphone market share. Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director for Kantar, noted what a major milestone this is for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in a statement released by the research firm.

“Apple has reached a major milestone in the U.S. by passing the 50 percent share mark for the first time,” he said. Sunnebo expects Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to make additional gains in the market share this month.

Kantar’s statistics show that Apple still has a long way to go in Europe however. Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android phones continued to reign supreme there with 61 percent of the overall European market share for smartphones. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (ADR) (LON:BC94) held 44.3 percent of the market share in Europe’s top five countries.

Kantar also found that Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK)’s Windows 8 phones are not selling well in the U.S., although the company is offering pre-paid deals in the U.K. for two of the Lumia handsets in an attempt to gain some market share there. Sunnebo said the biggest challenge for Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) is drawing in smartphone users under the age of 35.