The smartphone industry is full of analytics, metrics and research companies that love nothing more than tearing through sales figures and producing lovely graphs and pie charts which detail every little intricacy about a company’s product sales. Needless to say, in recent times a lot of this attention has been centered around Apple and Samsung, not only because they are constantly competing against each other to be the largest smartphone vendor in the world, but also because the two electronic giants also seem hell bent on battling it out in the courts.
The latest research from the NPD Group shows that the final quarter of 2011 saw Apple leapfrog LG and Samsung to head up in the list of top-selling handset Vendor in the United States. The sales figures used were taken from the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S which were the three available Apple handsets during 2011 and made up 43% of the U.S. smartphone market. Although Apple were the leading vendor in Q4, the Android operating system had the larger market share with a total of 48% spread out across the various manufacturers.
When taking both statistics into account, the popular iOS and Android mobile operating systems made up over 90% of the United States’ smartphone sales, meaning it doesn’t take a degree educated mathematician to work out that not a lot was left for the likes of Windows Phone and BlackBerry to fight over.
The NPD Group’s research also contains a monthly smartphone tracking service which showed that approximately 57% of consumers who were first-time smartphone buyers opted for an Android powered handset over any other operating system. This is, in comparison to 34% of purchasers who decided that an iPhone was the way to go. Whilst the first-time purchasing trend is erring toward Android and shows that the total market share may grow, a number of reasons exist why customers would choose Android over an iPhone.
With the Android operating system being ‘open’, it is available on a huge array of handsets from a multitude of different manufacturers. The available smartphones which run Android also range from inexpensive devices all the way up to the top of the range models which cater for all budgets whereas the iPhone is generally seen as a premium device at the high-end of the cost scale. Android also has wide carrier support and the option of LTE on the Verizon network.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the reporting of the record breaking quarter by Apple led to the latest production iPhone, the 4S, coming out as the best selling smartphone device in the final quarter of last year. The company can also take some comfort in the fact that the number two and three positions for the same period were also occupied by the other two available iPhone models with Samsung devices filling the final two spaces in the 2011 Q4 top five. Ross Rubin, who is the executive director of Connected Intelligence for The NPD Group, said that consumers were attracted to the iPhone 4S’s ”faster processor, improved camera and the Siri speech-driven agent.”
The top five devices from Q4 of 2011, as sold in the United States are:
- Apple iPhone 4S
- Apple iPhone 4
- Apple iPhone 3GS
- Samsung Galaxy S II
- Samsung Galaxy S 4G