Apple Inc. (AAPL) Snags Over 40 Percent Of U.S. Smartphone Share

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) continues to further its lead over Android in the U.S. market. The latest data from Kantar shows that the iPhone holds 43.4 percent of the U.S. market for the three months ending in July. Interestingly enough, the data also shows a record high share for Windows Phone in the five major markets in Europe.

Apple extends its lead over Android

Kevin Bostic of Apple Insider notes that this is an increase of 7.8 percentage points over the same three-month period last year. According to Kantar, the U.S. is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s strongest market by far. However, the iPhone’s market share increased by the same amount in the U.K., rising 7.8 percentage points to hold 31.1 percent of the smartphone market in the U.S.

The data indicates that Apple’s growth is coming almost entirely from former Android users. Although Android is still the operating system on most U.S. smartphones, the operating system’s market share fell 7.6 points in the U.S. Together, the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Android operating systems hold 94.5 percent of the U.S. smartphone market.

Apple remains popular at U.S. carriers

The iPhone has been the most popular handset at each of the three biggest carriers in the U.S. over the last few quarter. It made up more than half of Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ)’s and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T)’s smartphone sales in the second quarter of the year. The iPhone was also a significant chunk of Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S)’s and T-Mobile USA’s upgrades and new customers.

Windows Phone not stealing from Apple

Kantar’s data also shows that Windows Phone is growing, especially in European markets, although not at the expense of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V)’s low-priced Lumia handsets are driving most of the increase in Windows Phone sales. Only about 27 percent of Android and Apple users switch operating systems, and most of them swap back and forth between the two major operating systems.

Instead, Windows Phone’s expansion is coming from first time smartphone buyers. More than 42 percent of sales over the last year were from previous owners of feature phones. Windows Phone is now about a tenth of all smartphone sales in Mexico, the U.K., France and Germany. Also this is the first time Windows Phone has climbed to second place in any market. It took 11.6 percent of smartphone sales in Mexico during the three months ending in July.

The battle for feature phone owners

The feature phone market is essentially an untapped resource for major smartphone companies. According to Kantar, feature phone owners make up over half of all mobile users around the globe, and they believe the battle over the next year will be over these feature phone owners.

Kantar believes price is a key component in the decision to switch to a smartphone, which is why Nokia’s low-end Lumia devices and older iPhone models and Samsung models are selling well among first time smartphone buyers.

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