Another win for Apple as a report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows the iPhone 6 trumps Android rivals in the United States for the first time in three years

The report indicates that iOS devices outsold Android by a slim margin of 0.1%. Throughout this past holiday quarter, sales of the iPhone 6 trumped those of all other smartphones. Samsung took the number two spot with the Galaxy S5.

Apple Inc. iPhone Outsells Android In United States

Kantar’s chief of research, Carolina Milanesi, explained that the success of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is truly unprecedented. Apple’s strong portfolio benefits the current quarter’s performance. Now that Apple has a wide range of devices available both with and without a contract, the iPhone is now even more desirable. It also gives Apple an advantage over rivals.

Android sees a major decline in sales

Android is also experiencing a decline in Europe. The company’s market share sank by 3.8% year over year to 66.1%. By comparison, Apple’s iOS share climbed by 6.2%. Great Britain experienced an impact when sales share of iOS grew 13.1%. Samsung, Sony and LG lost market share year over year. Kantar’s strategic insight director, Dominic Sunnebo, added that Italy was the only market in which Android grew. Given the company’s strong market for pre-paid devices as well as a wider direct channel, it is not surprising that Italian consumers are purchasing Apple products.

The importance of customer retention

Windows Phone experienced some success in Europe’s markets in 2014 but struggled during the latter half of the year. Microsoft saw minimal growth in phone sales in Germany and France.

Smartphone penetration reached 59% in the United States and 67% in Europe. Emerging markets like Brazil and Mexico still have a way to go. Because the majority of consumers in first-world markets already own smartphones and companies don’t feel the need to attract first-time smartphone buyers, the focus has shifted to customer retention.

Apple already has strong customer loyalty with a retention rate of 87% in the United States and Europe.