Apple widened its lead in 2013 U.S. smartphone sales versus its competitors, this quarter’s Connected Home Report from research firm NPD shows. January’s report showed that, from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013, iPhone ownership rose from 35 percent to 42 percent and Samsung Android smartphone ownership rose from 22 percent to 26 percent in the same period.

The Connected Home Report, which reports on metrics for a range of Internet- and cellular-capable devices and original equipment manufacturers, also found that several other manufacturers lost market share over the one-year period, including Motorola, HTC, and Blackberry. With Apple’s large gains, Samsung’s relatively modest gains, and other OEM’s losses, Apple is solidifying its place as the front runner in U.S. sales.

How Firms Tabulate Sales

MacRumors notes that NPD’s research closely matches a recent comScore report that showed Apple and Samsung with 41.2 percent and 26 percent of the U.S. smartphone market share, respectively. MacRumors notes that both research organizations calculate their values by tracking the user base of smartphones—not by tracking any one manufacturer’s sales.

NPD surveyed over 5,000 consumers, age 18 and older, to get a realistic picture of smartphone ownership. Although this type of data provides a good picture of which devices American citizens own, MacRumors points out that it is less reactive to market trends or the lifespan of any one particular smartphone model.

Worldwide Market Penetration

The Connected Home Report and comScore report both show a realistic picture of OEM market penetration inside the U.S. However, the reports do not address either Apple’s or Samsung’s sales worldwide. MacRumors’ opinion on the matter is clear, stating: “While Apple’s performance remains strong in the U.S. and several other countries, Android has had more success attracting customers in many other markets around the world.”  Citing data from the Kantar Worldpanel, Apple sees sales only in the range of 15 percent to 20 percent in Europe and China.

This state of affairs may be changing, though. TUAW recently discussed the fact that China Mobile, a Chinese state-owned telecommunications company, will soon begin selling the iPhone. “I can tell you that last quarter we sold more iPhones in Greater China than at any time in our past,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said.

With increasing sales in China and the support of large communications companies, it appears that Apple has the potential to gain further ground outside the U.S. TUAW says China Mobile has more subscribers than the U.S. has people, and that will inherently allow Apple to reach people in corners of the world it could not touch before.

Certainly, other equipment manufacturers will continue to look for ways to increase their own respective market shares. Even with Apple’s large gains, giants like Samsung are not entirely out of the game. Yet, as more people grab an iPhone as their phone of choice, less space is left for its competitors.

Which smartphone manufacturer do you prefer?

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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