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Apple and Samsung pull further ahead in U.S. smartphone market, iOS gains on Android

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
According to new data from analytics firm comScore, Apple and Samsung continued their two-horse race for U.S. smartphone subscribers over the last quarter of 2012, while iOS gained some ground on Google's Android during the same period.

The data from comScore's MobiLens service shows Apple's iPhone maintained its dominance of the U.S. smartphone market for the three months ending in December, bumping its share 2 percent from the previous quarter to account for 36.3 percent of all subscribers. Samsung saw the most positive change over quarter four, capturing 21 percent of the overall market, up 2.3 percent quarter-to-quarter. The top two manufacturers were trailed by HTC and Motorola, which both suffered declines to end the year with respective market shares of 10.2 percent and 9.1 percent.

comScore
Source: comScore


As for mobile platforms, the study found that Android retained its number one spot, with the mobile operating system running on over half of all smartphones in the U.S. Apple's iOS made the greatest quarterly gains, however, moving from a 34.3 percent share at the end of September to 36.3 percent by year's end. In comparison, Android saw a 0.9 percent change, upping its share from 52.5 percent to 53.4 percent over the same period.

BlackBerry saw the biggest drop, falling 2 percent from 8.4 percent to end the quarter with a marketshare of 6.4 percent. The embattled company, which recently changed its name from Research in Motion to BlackBerry, released the Z10 on Wednesday. The device is the first handset in the company's next-generation smartphone and will make its way into the U.S. in mid-March.

comScore


The firm said 125.9 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in December, which equated to 54 percent of all mobile phone subscribers in the country.
post #2 of 26

Since according to my math the Android OEMs presented remained steady at 47.1% for the 3 month period, Apple's gains probably come from Android users switching to iPhone. Android probably stayed the same by younger feature phone users upgrading to Android. I think at this point in the US any feature phone users who have not already switched to iPhone are likely to choose Android going forward as they are probably more cost conscious than early adopters.

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post #3 of 26
As with most of these surveys, the results are not particularly meaningful.

1. They don't provide the error margin. It looks like some of the changes are within the margin of error - and therefore not meaningful.

2. Even if the differences are STATISTICALLY meaningful, there's no evidence that the sample is representative of the population as a whole. GIven that the data comes from web browsing data, it's going to be dependent on which sites they use, so is almost certainly not representative (unless by chance).
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post #4 of 26
"As for mobile platforms, the study found that Android retained its number one spot, with the mobile operating system running on over half of all smartphones in the U.S."

This should be changed to "As for smartphone platforms..." because to keep it at "mobile", you have to include the ipad and touch.
post #5 of 26

The platform numbers are impossibly low for Apple given what Verizon and AT&T reported.

post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Since according to my math the Android OEMs presented remained steady at 47.1% for the 3 month period, Apple's gains probably come from Android users switching to iPhone. Android probably stayed the same by younger feature phone users upgrading to Android. I think at this point in the US any feature phone users who have not already switched to iPhone are likely to choose Android going forward as they are probably more cost conscious than early adopters.

 

I agree with the first part of your analysis, but not the second. Based on carrier stats we've all seen reported, there are quite a few Android to iPhone switchers. However, there's no reason to think new smartphone users will primarily choose Android, for at least a couple of reasons,

 

* Many of these will be young people "coming of age" and getting their first smartphone.

* With iPhones available starting at $0.99, phone cost won't be a driving factor, especially since the contract costs are going to be the same for both.

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by poke View Post

The platform numbers are impossibly low for Apple given what Verizon and AT&T reported.

There are scores of other carriers you know.
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post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

There are scores of other carriers you know.

Except that the numbers are US only. AT&T and Verizon account for something like 2/3 of all US mobile phones. Last time I ran the calculations, all the other carriers would have had to be something like 10% iOS and 85% Android for the math to work out. Not impossible, but it certainly bears further scrutiny.
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post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by poke View Post

The platform numbers are impossibly low for Apple given what Verizon and AT&T reported.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

There are scores of other carriers you know.

poke is right. ATT and Verizon add up to nearly two-thirds of US subscribers. The other 'scores' you mention account for about a third. From data we've seen reported by these two leading carriers, we know that iPhones account for about 60% to two-thirds of their smartphone sales, on average (as I vaguely recall from last year's reports). Broadly applying that (and assuming, generously, that, say, Android phones  are 75% of non-iPhone carriers for ATT, Verizon, and all the others), iOS and Android shares should be roughly even.

 

Edit: jragosta got in with a similar point before I did.

post #10 of 26

Whew! I'm glad this article's statistics add up to 100%, maybe this discussion can be a tad more focused... 1rolleyes.gif

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post #11 of 26

So much wrong information in the comments... the data is based on surveys, not browser data.  It is a 3 month rolling score.  Similar to presidential polling.

 

Here is the summary info -

In the last 3 months, there are 6.6 million new smart phone users

Apple added 4.7 million new users, (2.5 million in December)

Android added 4.6 million new users

Rim lost 2 million

Microsoft lost .5 million

 

AT&T and Verizon reported sales.  The first full month of sales, Apple only added .5 million users which makes sense since most of the early buyers already owned an iPhone.

 

If you want to look at momentum -

same 3 months during 2011 - 10.4 million new smart phone users

Apple added 5 million

Android added 7.1  million users

 

It should be an interesting year.

post #12 of 26
If you read the Korean online and offline news articles, it looks as if Apple will go out of business any day. It's sad that most of the Korean media is brainwashed by Samsung(which happens to be the biggest advertiser). Literally 9 out 10 news outlets write negative stories about Apple on a daily basis. Just to remind you, Apple's net income last quarter was 13.1 billion, Samsung's was 6.6 billion. Company that pulls in over 10 billion in a quarter will go bankrupt....yeah funny, really funny.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 69ergoo View Post

If you read the Korean online and offline news articles, it looks as if Apple will go out of business any day. It's sad that most of the Korean media is brainwashed by Samsung(which happens to be the biggest advertiser). Literally 9 out 10 news outlets write negative stories about Apple on a daily basis. Just to remind you, Apple's net income last quarter was 13.1 billion, Samsung's was 6.6 billion. Company that pulls in over 10 billion in a quarter will go bankrupt....yeah funny, really funny.


Yes the Korean's are very aggressive and will say anything in business.    This also applies to their cars BTW!

On my travels I notice Korean people are mostly loyal, most have Samsung phones, even the small handed women.

 

Apple had better be very careful, my current local unscientific local observation on iDevices in hand, indicate an increasing number of those large screen (mostly under 5", occasionally  the larger Note) Samsung phones. For eyesight reasons I know a number of people who have a good reason to prefer them.

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

As with most of these surveys, the results are not particularly meaningful.

1. They don't provide the error margin. It looks like some of the changes are within the margin of error - and therefore not meaningful.

 

This is Comscore! It's not some no-name phone repair shop. They have been publishing these figures every month for over three years. Go look up their other results... then come back and tell us if they are meaningful or not.

 

 

Quote:
2. Even if the differences are STATISTICALLY meaningful, there's no evidence that the sample is representative of the population as a whole. GIven that the data comes from web browsing data, it's going to be dependent on which sites they use, so is almost certainly not representative (unless by chance).

 

Ah I see where you went wrong there. Think more. Post less.

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by poke View Post

The platform numbers are impossibly low for Apple given what Verizon and AT&T reported.

 

Why do we have to have this every bloody time? 

 

This is a survey of smartphone subscribers NOT monthly sales.

 

There is nothing in these figures that doesn't tally with the recent reports of strong iPhone sales since the launch of iPhone 5. In fact, Comscore is adding more credence to them.

 

Eg. Take a look at the October figures. http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press_Releases/2012/11/comScore_Reports_October_2012_U.S._Mobile_Subscriber_Market_Share

 

iPhone 34.3%

Android 53.6%

 

Compared with the December figures above... that's iPhone UP 2%. Android DOWN 0.2%

And if you correlate those with the total subscriber figures that gives you 4.1 million additional subscribers to Apple, vs only 2.2 million for Android.

 

So... as the other platforms were either flat or down... iPhone has taken roughly 65% of the additional US smartphone subscribers over November and December.

 

 

Happier now? 

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by piot View Post

This is Comscore! It's not some no-name phone repair shop. They have been publishing these figures every month for over three years. Go look up their other results... then come back and tell us if they are meaningful or not.

They could publish the scores for three millenia and it wouldn't change the facts. Changes that are less than the error margin are not meaningful.
Quote:
Originally Posted by piot View Post

Ah I see where you went wrong there. Think more. Post less.

It doesn't matter where they got the data. Unless they can show that it's representative of the population as a whole, the results are not meaningful.
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post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


They could publish the scores for three millenia and it wouldn't change the facts. Changes that are less than the error margin are not meaningful.
It doesn't matter where they got the data. Unless they can show that it's representative of the population as a whole, the results are not meaningful.

 

You didn't even know where they were getting their data from and yet you still pronounced it meaningless. 

 

Says more 'bout you than Comscore.

post #18 of 26

PS. A sure sign of the data being good is that Darling and Gator haven't shown up to provide some 'alternative' data. 1wink.gif

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by piot View Post

PS. A sure sign of the data being good is that Darling and Gator haven't shown up to provide some 'alternative' data. 1wink.gif

1smile.gif

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post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Except that the numbers are US only. AT&T and Verizon account for something like 2/3 of all US mobile phones. Last time I ran the calculations, all the other carriers would have had to be something like 10% iOS and 85% Android for the math to work out. Not impossible, but it certainly bears further scrutiny.

 

The Comscore numbers are the number of subscribers, not the number of activations, nor the number of sales.  Apple had a blowout quarter in Q4 of 2012, about half of it due to the iPhone 5, and the other half due to the budget iPhone 4s and them giving away the iPhone 4 for free.  While 2/3 of the sales at AT&T/Verizon may have been Apple products- the majority of them are not new subscribers.  The AT&T numbers suggested that about 1 in 5 were new subscribers, the rest were Apple fans updating their existing phones.

 

Great news for Apple by any stretch.  Far fewer people got a new subscription in Q4 of last year than already had one.  So you can get big swings in sales quarter to quarter, the total user base is going to shift much more slowly.  The data shows what you'd expect.  Apple sold more phones than anyone in Q4 of last year (in the US).  So many that it changed the total number of subscribers by 2.0%!  Thats a big number in one quarter.  Android also grew its already sizeable share by 0.9%  Android still has total number by a  fairly large margin, but Apple was a clear gainer in Q4 of 2012.  If Apple can maintain that sales discrepency, Android should be worried.  I think it will be tough for Apple to maintain since the big driver for it was the 'shiny new phone'   I think things will likely return to normal with Android edging slightly, then Apple getting a smaller jump when the iPhone 5s is released, and possibly another big jump with the iPhone 6.  That could change if Apple diversifies its product line.  I'd love to see a bigger screen iPhone, but if they do that and do a cheaper phone as well, 'new' iPhone releases will lose their 'ta da' effect.  Overall sales will likely go up, you just won't have the big surges of non-buying just before a release, followed by the tsunami of buying just after a new phone is released.

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by piot View Post

PS. A sure sign of the data being good is that Darling and Gator haven't shown up to provide some 'alternative' data. 1wink.gif

 

*laughing*  Thank you.  Nice to be thought of !

 

I don't care what the outcome is, I just want to help those who are debating, to understand the background info, and to not mix up data types.

 

For example, in this case, people are assuming the data comes from browsing.  Nope.  (ComScore does that as well, but not for this.)

 

When the source is marked as being from MobiLens, it means it comes from their own group of 30,000+ longterm volunteers who are supposed to be a representative group of users... people who constantly report on what devices they use or stop using, how they use them, and so forth.

 

ComScore follows these same people for years and years, instead of surveying a random group each time.  This is why these stats change more slowly than other snapshots of sales or browser stats... this is a real life, fairly static group of people who have to deal with two year contracts, upgrade eligibility, family financials, and so forth.

 

They're like the old Nielson TV families in many ways.


Edited by KDarling - 2/6/13 at 6:42pm
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

As with most of these surveys, the results are not particularly meaningful.

1. They don't provide the error margin. It looks like some of the changes are within the margin of error - and therefore not meaningful.

2. Even if the differences are STATISTICALLY meaningful, there's no evidence that the sample is representative of the population as a whole. GIven that the data comes from web browsing data, it's going to be dependent on which sites they use, so is almost certainly not representative (unless by chance).

 

Hurry...spin spin spin....deny deny deny. 

 

If these were so off all the time, why are they in line with each other for over 2 years now? 

 

It's ok I'll save you the trouble, it's all those phantom (non existant) Android feature phones everyone's buying by the millions right J? Oh wait this is web browsing data you say, well feature phones don't do that. I mean..I mean... yawn. 

 

I miss the days you had meaningful informed posts. 

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post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post


OK. So I was right then. 1smoking.gif
post #24 of 26

Just so you know: every minor fluctuation in market share will be reported on AppleInsider.

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post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Since according to my math the Android OEMs presented remained steady at 47.1% for the 3 month period, Apple's gains probably come from Android users switching to iPhone. Android probably stayed the same by younger feature phone users upgrading to Android. I think at this point in the US any feature phone users who have not already switched to iPhone are likely to choose Android going forward as they are probably more cost conscious than early adopters.

 

I agree with the first part of your analysis, but not the second. Based on carrier stats we've all seen reported, there are quite a few Android to iPhone switchers. However, there's no reason to think new smartphone users will primarily choose Android, for at least a couple of reasons,

 

* Many of these will be young people "coming of age" and getting their first smartphone.

* With iPhones available starting at $0.99, phone cost won't be a driving factor, especially since the contract costs are going to be the same for both.

Well when you look at the estimates that around 40% of current mobile phone subscribers are not smartphone users, that indicates to me that there are a lot of adults who are resisting upgrading to a smartphone. These are the people who I propose will eventually choose Android based on price alone. The costs are not always equal for example Metro PCS is offering $40 unlimited everything for Android phones which is a lot less than other carriers.

 

Aside from that, the fastest growing segment of the population in the US is in the Latino community and based on my observations in this demographic they are decidedly of the Android persuasion. In keeping with my admittedly unscientific assumptions I see the coming of age youth as, by in large, migrating toward Android. Please keep in mind that I am not presenting any argument that Android is better than iOS as I am a advocate of the opposite but I am just looking at potential trends and this seems to be a possible scenario.


Edited by mstone - 2/6/13 at 8:53pm

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post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Well when you look at the estimates that around 40% of current mobile phone subscribers are not smartphone users, that indicates to me that there are a lot of adults who are resisting upgrading to a smartphone. These are the people who I propose will eventually choose Android based on price alone. The costs are not always equal for example Metro PCS is offering $40 unlimited everything for Android phones which is a lot less than other carriers.

 

Aside from that, the fastest growing segment of the population in the US is in the Latino community and based on my observations in this demographic they are decidedly of the Android persuasion. In keeping with my admittedly unscientific assumptions I see the coming of age youth as, by in large, migrating toward Android. Please keep in mind that I am not presenting any argument that Android is better than iOS as I am a advocate of the opposite but I am just looking at potential trends and this seems to be a possible scenario.

 

Apart from your observations regarding the "coming of age" demographic, you may be correct. In that case, I think your conclusion is overly generalized and their choices are more likely to fall along the lines of the larger demographic into which they fall.

 

I do, however, think we'll continue to see an increasing number of switchers who, dissatisfied with Android, not committed to that ecosystem, will move in significant numbers to iPhone. This is a significant trend that is, I believe, just starting to show itself as the contracts of 1st gen Android users begin to run out.

 

So, while Android continues to fill in market share at the bottom, "feature phone", end, it will continue to lose it from an increasingly larger segment of the top end of the smartphone market.


Edited by anonymouse - 2/7/13 at 5:21am
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