iPhone 5 helps iOS overtake Android in the US, catching up in Europe

27 Nov 2012

The iPhone 5

Strong sales of Apple’s iPhone 5 have propelled iOS back to the No 1 spot in the US, according to new research from Kantar. Apple now has 48.1pc share of US smartphone sales compared with Google’s Android, which has a 46.7pc share.

“The last time we saw iOS overtake Android in the US was when the iPhone 4S was released and Apple managed to retain its lead for three consecutive periods,” Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech said. 

“This time we predict that Apple will beat its previous high of 49.3pc and achieve its highest-ever share of the US smartphone market within the next two periods.”

In Europe, iOS is growing its share of sales in four of the five major European markets.

Android still leads in all five, especially Germany (73.9pc) and Spain (81.7pc).

In Italy, sales of Nokia smartphones have helped drive Windows share up to 11.7pc, the highest in Europe.


“Germany remains a tough market for Apple, with its share falling by 5.1 percentage points over the past year,” Sunnebo said.

“The Samsung Galaxy S3 has taken almost a quarter of the country’s smartphone sales over the past 12 weeks to boost Android yet further. In Italy, strong sales of the Nokia Lumia 610, the fourth best-selling handset over the past 12 weeks, and the Nokia Lumia 800, the seventh best-selling, have helped drive Windows’ share up to 11.7pc  – the highest across Europe.”

The Apple of their ‘i’

Returning to the US, the majority of US iPhone 5 sales, 62pc, have come from existing Apple owners upgrading to the new device, although Apple has also benefitted from people switching from Android devices (13pc), people switching from BlackBerry devices (6pc) and a small number of first time smartphone owners. 

“Apple has always managed to maintain loyalty levels far above the competition, and this has clearly played a part in driving sales of its new device,” Sunnebo explained.

“An impressive 92pc of existing Apple owners in the US said they will choose an iPhone the next time they upgrade. While loyalty is clearly key, it is also important to make sure that new customers are attracted to your brand. With roughly 60pc of US iPhone 5 sales coming from existing customers and 40pc from new consumers, Apple is achieving this at the moment – a clear sign of the strength of the brand in the US marketplace.” 

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years