Apple Wins 51 Percent Of U.S. Market, Android Wins Everywhere Else And Windows Grows In Europe

By Jordan Mammo email: , Jan 22, 2013 02:40 PM EST

There's been a lot of hand-wringing over Apple during the last month. Its stock price has fallen and a number of analysts have questioned its ability to keep up with Samsung worldwide. In the United States and Japan, at least, the iPhone continues to maintain its lead over competitors. Everywhere else? That's a different story.

With just over 51 percent of the market, the iPhone was the top-selling phone in the U.S. during the last quarter of 2012, according to statistics reported by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Android came in second place, with 44.8 percent, while Microsoft lagged behind with only 2.6 percent of all smartphone sales.

"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," said Kantar analyst Mary-Ann Parlato.

Specifically, 36 percent of all iPhone sales came from customers abandoning other smartphone line-ups, and much of that percentage is made up of Android users. In fact, 19 percent of iOS sales during 2012 came from Android users, compared to just 9 percent in 2011.

Throughout the world, however, Apple isn't so lucky. Android phones continued to lead in China, Australia, and much of Europe. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of the Chinese market is made up of Android users, while in Spain, the Google OS holds a whopping 87 percent of all smartphone sales.

"Among the handset manufacturers, Samsung has held onto the number one spot in Britain, claiming 35% of smartphone sales, although Apple is now biting at its heels with 32%," said Dominic Sunnebo, Kantar's global consumer insight director. "Nokia is experiencing something of a turnaround in Britain with its smartphone sales share at 6.2% and actual sales growing by over 50% compared with last year. Meanwhile, BlackBerry continues to find trading tough in the run up to the BlackBerry 10 release; however, its 9320 handset gave it a boost over Christmas with two-thirds bought as a gifts."

As for Microsoft, the news was mixed. Kantar finds that Windows Phone boosted its share in Britain and Italy significantly, taking in 5.9 and 13.9 percent respectively. That's up from last year's 2.2 and 2.8 percent. In larger markets like China and the U.S., however, Microsoft is struggling.

"It has been far slower than Microsoft would have liked, but Windows Phone is now starting to gain respectable shares in a number of key European countries," said Sunnebo. "However, its performance in the Chinese and US markets remains underwhelming. As the two largest smartphone markets in the world, these remain key challenges for Microsoft to overcome during 2013."

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