iPhone 4S launch propels surging Apple 20% to close the gap with Android

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014


The launch of the iPhone 4S last October had an "enormous impact" on the U.S. smartphone landscape, boosting Apple's share among new buyers by almost 20 percent and putting it neck-and-neck with Android in December.



The latest quarterly sales data from Nielsen shows that while just 25.1 percent of American smartphone buyers in October chose an iPhone, that number ballooned to 44.5 percent in December. In addition, 57 percent of new iPhone owners polled in December indicated they bought an iPhone 4S.



Though Apple's massive spike in sales helped the company close the gap on Android, Google's mobile platform remains the most popular choice among smartphone owners in the U.S. Nielsen found that 46.3 percent of all domestic smartphone owners have an Android device, compared to the 30 percent share iOS holds.



But in October, before the iPhone 4S launched, Apple's 25.1 percent share among recent smartphone acquirers was more than 35 percentage points below Android. In November, the gap was narrowed considerably to less than 10 points, and by December, the iPhone had come within 2.5 point of Android.



Apple finished the year with a 44.5 percent share among recent smartphone buyers, nipping at the heels of Android and its 46.9 percent share.











RIM's BlackBerry platform continued a downward slide through the end of 2011, dropping from a 7.7 percent share among recent smartphone buyers in October, to just 4.5 percent in December. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile, Nokia's Symbian, and HP's Palm webOS combined for just over 5 percent of recent purchases.



Nielsen also found that as of the fourth quarter of calendar 2011, 46 percent of U.S. mobile consumers had smartphones. The number is growing quickly, and 60 percent of those who bought a new handset in the last three months chose a smartphone.











Apple's tremendous performance in December is a major turnaround from what Nielsen found last September, when the iPhone represented 28 percent of recent smartphone sales in the U.S. At the time, Android was continuing to grow and held a 43 percent share.



At the time, Nielsen cautioned that Apple's market share could "change quickly" with the launch of a new product. Only weeks later, the company introduced the iPhone 4S.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 68
    red oakred oak Posts: 609member
    Just wait. In 7 months, the 4 will be free on contract, the base 4S will be $99, and the 5 will be out.



    And the 3GS? It becomes Apples low cost off contract solution



    Apple is just getting going here
  • Reply 2 of 68
    There are many other smartphones on the market that have designs I like much better than the iPhone 4/4s. Yes, I preferred the physical build of the 3GS and original iPhone best. BUT, while I dislike the glass back of the 4/4s, I just cannot get myself to buy a phone that doesn't use iOS. Sure, I could easily give up using my iPhone and go back to a standard cell phone/computer combo, but I just don't see switching to Android.



    No, I am not an Apple fanatic either. It simply seems that Android simply isn't as polished and easy to use as iOS. Don't get me wrong, Apple could really improve the iOS 5 notification panel by adding WIDGETS. But knowing Apple, we will not see any new widgets...instead we will be stuck with stocks and weather for the life of iOS 5. Come on Apple, let people build widgets for the notification bar/panel/whatever you call it.
  • Reply 3 of 68
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Interesting to know, however the numbers close to product launches (especially delayed ones) aren't particularly informative about the long term trends.
  • Reply 4 of 68
    mkralmkral Posts: 56member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post


    Just wait. In 7 months, the 4 will be free on contract, the base 4S will be $99, and the 5 will be out.



    And the 3GS? It becomes Apples low cost off contract solution



    Apple is just getting going here



    Not sure about the 3GS, as it's going to be really old by then & not a compelling choices (at least in the US), but I am excited about the 4 turning into the 'free' iphone. This will open it up to Sprint & Verizon to carry a free iPhone. It will be interesting to see what happens with iOS vs Android at that point.
  • Reply 5 of 68
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lamewing View Post


    ...Come on Apple, let people build widgets for the notification bar/panel/whatever you call it.



    Be careful what you wish for. I barely use any widgets on my Android phone. The impact on battery life and UI responsiveness can become noticeable with too many widgets. I do appreciate having the option though...
  • Reply 6 of 68
    The problem here is that, in 6 months, the growth for iOS smartphone will slow again because of anticipation of iphone 5, while new Android phones will keep coming out every 3 months and maintain the lead.



    IMO Apple still needs an additional model, and makes alternate launch cycles every half-year (Sep for traditional launch, Mar for variation launch). E.g. they could make a larger screen 4s model in March, and iPhone 5 in Sep.
  • Reply 7 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post


    Interesting to know, however the numbers close to product launches (especially delayed ones) aren't particularly informative about the long term trends.



    The way I see it is that even if iPhone sales drop off in the next two quarters then you can expect even more massive sales with v. 6 of the iPhone. Android will retain its market share lead but Apple will continue to increase market share, stealing it not only from Symbian and RIM but also from Android.



    That's the long term trend imho.
  • Reply 8 of 68
    So here's my question, pondering point, or whatever?



    Does anyone here think that the average Android user has any brand loyalty?



    My thoughts are basically that any platform has some level of lock-in. However, when you lock-in with Apple you need to buy another iPhone. When you lock in with Android, you only lock-in the OS, not the vendor.



    That is, Apple can count on a high percentage of their iPhone customers buying another iPhone. Samsung cannot. Since they're all the same OS, why not get the best price/performance ratio at any particular second in time?



    So that implies that all of these companies need to continue in their race to the bottom against each other.



    Do you agree?



    I ask because I have some direct experience here. Until I upgraded her for her bday, my wife was running a 3+ year old 3G which worked perfectly. I only have experience with three owners of Android phones, one has gone through three handsets in the last year looking for one that still worked (some candy-bar phone with Android which was basically useless, then the Sony which failed continually, and finally to Samsung), another that had a similar experience and then gave up and went to BB, and finally a new owner who got an HTC for Christmas and it's already failing to receive calls.



    In all of these case, and here's the issue, none of them had any brand loyalty. More importantly, most of them didn't really have any sort of syncing lock-in. A few songs, some photos, that's it.



    So to me that implies that as the used market for iPhones grows, unless something radical happens on the features side, the lock-in percentage for iPhone should keep going up.



    Right?
  • Reply 9 of 68
    nairbnairb Posts: 253member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post


    Interesting to know, however the numbers close to product launches (especially delayed ones) aren't particularly informative about the long term trends.



    I bet that RIM are glad to hear that. They released three new phones in August and lost significant ground in the last quarter.
  • Reply 10 of 68
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by drobforever View Post


    The problem here is that, in 6 months, the growth for iOS smartphone will slow again because of anticipation of iphone 5, while new Android phones will keep coming out every 3 months and maintain the lead. .



    That's my take as well. This is one metric that needs a year of data, not one quarter YoY to see a trend. Surely we all expect a spike when an iPhone is newer as opposed to later. That said, China Unicom just got the ipHone (officially) at the beginning of January so that market could still keep the iPhone looking strong and I don't expect iPhone sales to be lower this quarter than last.



    Quote:

    IMO Apple still needs an additional model, and makes alternate launch cycles every half-year (Sep for traditional launch, Mar for variation launch). E.g. they could make a larger screen 4s model in March, and iPhone 5 in Sep.



    If Apple plans to have a larger model I think 2012 is the year.
  • Reply 11 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post


    Interesting to know, however the numbers close to product launches (especially delayed ones) aren't particularly informative about the long term trends.



    Using your logic, the Android numbers should not be used for long term trends since there is a new Android device coming out that is 'better' every week.
  • Reply 12 of 68
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,007member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post


    Interesting to know, however the numbers close to product launches (especially delayed ones) aren't particularly informative about the long term trends.



    For long term trends, check out Horace's new blog on the longevity of tech companies.



    http://www.asymco.com/2012/01/18/the...ter-companies/



    Does not look like Apple is doing to badly.
  • Reply 13 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maury Markowitz View Post


    So that implies that all of these companies need to continue in their race to the bottom against each other.



    Do you agree?



    Spot on.
  • Reply 14 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maury Markowitz View Post


    So here's my question, pondering point, or whatever?





    So to me that implies that as the used market for iPhones grows, unless something radical happens on the features side, the lock-in percentage for iPhone should keep going up.



    Right?



    I agree. It's a good time to own AAPL.
  • Reply 15 of 68
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by drobforever View Post


    The problem here is that, in 6 months, the growth for iOS smartphone will slow again because of anticipation of iphone 5, while new Android phones will keep coming out every 3 months and maintain the lead.



    IMO Apple still needs an additional model, and makes alternate launch cycles every half-year (Sep for traditional launch, Mar for variation launch). E.g. they could make a larger screen 4s model in March, and iPhone 5 in Sep.



    Actually, recent reports are that the Android manufacturers are realizing that releasing new phones every 3 months is not a good business model. It increases costs across the board - from manufacturing and marketing to inventory disposal costs. I suspect you'll see a significant decrease in the frequency of new Android phone launches.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maury Markowitz View Post


    So here's my question, pondering point, or whatever?



    Does anyone here think that the average Android user has any brand loyalty?



    My thoughts are basically that any platform has some level of lock-in. However, when you lock-in with Apple you need to buy another iPhone. When you lock in with Android, you only lock-in the OS, not the vendor.



    That is, Apple can count on a high percentage of their iPhone customers buying another iPhone. Samsung cannot. Since they're all the same OS, why not get the best price/performance ratio at any particular second in time?



    So that implies that all of these companies need to continue in their race to the bottom against each other.



    Do you agree?



    I ask because I have some direct experience here. Until I upgraded her for her bday, my wife was running a 3+ year old 3G which worked perfectly. I only have experience with three owners of Android phones, one has gone through three handsets in the last year looking for one that still worked (some candy-bar phone with Android which was basically useless, then the Sony which failed continually, and finally to Samsung), another that had a similar experience and then gave up and went to BB, and finally a new owner who got an HTC for Christmas and it's already failing to receive calls.



    In all of these case, and here's the issue, none of them had any brand loyalty. More importantly, most of them didn't really have any sort of syncing lock-in. A few songs, some photos, that's it.



    So to me that implies that as the used market for iPhones grows, unless something radical happens on the features side, the lock-in percentage for iPhone should keep going up.



    Right?



    My experience agrees. The people I know who have Android phones have absolutely no brand loyalty and switch readily from one brand to another. Beyond that, they have SOME OS loyalty, but not as much as iOS users. Most surveys show that the percentage of iOS users who plan to buy another iOS device is significantly higher than the percentage of Android users who plan to buy another Android device.
  • Reply 16 of 68
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maury Markowitz View Post


    So here's my question, pondering point, or whatever…



    Does anyone here think that the average Android user has any brand loyalty?



    My thoughts are basically that any platform has some level of lock-in. However, when you lock-in with Apple you need to buy another iPhone. When you lock in with Android, you only lock-in the OS, not the vendor.



    That is, Apple can count on a high percentage of their iPhone customers buying another iPhone. Samsung cannot. Since they're all the same OS, why not get the best price/performance ratio at any particular second in time?



    So that implies that all of these companies need to continue in their race to the bottom against each other.



    Do you agree?



    I ask because I have some direct experience here. Until I upgraded her for her bday, my wife was running a 3+ year old 3G which worked perfectly. I only have experience with three owners of Android phones, one has gone through three handsets in the last year looking for one that still worked (some candy-bar phone with Android which was basically useless, then the Sony which failed continually, and finally to Samsung), another that had a similar experience and then gave up and went to BB, and finally a new owner who got an HTC for Christmas and it's already failing to receive calls.



    In all of these case, and here's the issue, none of them had any brand loyalty. More importantly, most of them didn't really have any sort of syncing lock-in. A few songs, some photos, that's it.



    So to me that implies that as the used market for iPhones grows, unless something radical happens on the features side, the lock-in percentage for iPhone should keep going up.



    Right
    ?



    You make a lot of good points but I think Samsung, the great competitor to Apple these days, is a poor example as they do have quality HW (choke full of stolen IP is irrelevant here), a certain level of lock-in with their TouchWiz UI, and the most mindshare and customer loyalty among Android-based smartphone vendors.



    They still pale in comparison to Apple's modi operandi — especially when it comes to updates —*but remember Samsung's first line of defense is against all other vendors using Android OS, not Apple.
  • Reply 17 of 68
    brendonbrendon Posts: 642member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post


    Just wait. In 7 months, the 4 will be free on contract, the base 4S will be $99, and the 5 will be out.



    And the 3GS? It becomes Apples low cost off contract solution



    Apple is just getting going here



    Agreed, Apple is now grinding it out with Andriod, Apple is in a perfect place. Before they were selling about 25% of the smart phones and taking home the lion's share of the profits. Now it appears Apple is taking in 45% of the smart phone customers and on top of that most of the profits. Droids better innovate fast while they still have monies to support R&D.
  • Reply 18 of 68
    jetzjetz Posts: 1,293member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maury Markowitz View Post


    So here's my question, pondering point, or whatever?



    Does anyone here think that the average Android user has any brand loyalty?



    This only matters if you own stock in an Android OEM.



    Otherwise, what's the issue? How is this any different than the Windows ecosystem (both mobile and desktop) with different OEMs?



    Is it tough for OEMs? Sure.



    Is it great for consumers? Most definitely. I shudder to think what smartphone ASPs would be if the only successful ecosystems were ones where there was vertical integration, essentially ensuring a limit on competition as switching brands would require consumers to switch ecosystems. Android is doing to smartphones what Windows did to computers. By commoditizing the technology, it is making accessible to everyone.



    If you live in the developed world, it's quite easy to see a $600 iPhone as reasonably priced (quite often also because you're getting it on contract). Go to places like India, where people often pay the full price and then some for iDevices and take a look at Apple's marketshare there.



    That's not to say, that Apple's strategy is pointless. It's profitable for Apple and yields the best tech in the world. But this idea that it is the only way to win or the best path for all consumers is flawed. Lack of brand loyalty to OEMs never hurt the Windows ecosystem. The diversity of OEMs actually propelled personal computing forward. It'll work the same way for both Android and Windows Phone.



    And this is good for companies like Apple. This ensures that vertically integrated products will always command a healthy premium (err...unless you're RIM).
  • Reply 19 of 68
    slapppyslapppy Posts: 331member
    "Though Apple's massive spike in sales helped the company close the gap on Android, Google's mobile platform remains the most popular choice among smartphone owners in the U.S. Nielsen found that 46.3 percent of all domestic smartphone owners have an Android device, compared to the 30 percent share iOS holds."



    The cheerleading here doesn't change the fact that this is temporary. A new product will always produce a spike. But if you look closely iOS Smartphone share is losing ground fast. The days of iPhone leading the market as long gone.
  • Reply 20 of 68
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Let's see if we can ignore the troll's clearly inflammatory and incorrect remarks.
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