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Summary:

Apple won an impressive 42.8 percent of all U.K. smartphone sales in October, based largely on the introduction of the iPhone 4S. It’s the first time since Nov. 2010 that Apple saw its share of the U.K. smartphone market grow.

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Apple won an impressive 42.8 percent of all U.K. smartphone sales in October, based largely on the introduction of the iPhone 4S. It’s the first time since Nov. 2010 that Apple saw its share of the U.K. smartphone market grow, and the iPhone easily topped Android devices, which grabbed 35 percent of sales for the month.

The sales stats, gathered by research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, are perhaps most impressive because Apple really only started selling its latest iPhone halfway through the month, on Oct. 14. Apple’s big month helped it grow its market share 2.8 percent versus the previous year in the quarter leading up to the end of October, climbing to 27.8 percent mostly at the expense of Android, which was down from 49.9 to 46 percent. That helped Apple climb to a second-place spot among U.K. smartphone platforms, with RIM falling to third place with a drop of 1.3 percentage points to 19.6 percent share.

However, Apple’s sales were mostly from inside its own camp, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech points out. Amazingly, 75 percent of those who purchased a new 4S in October had previously owned an iPhone device, and 14 percent were upgrading from the iPhone 4, which means a good percentage of them were probably buying out contracts early to get the device.

While it’s good for Apple that people who use their devices like them enough to return to the iPhone time and time again, the high rate of return customers could mean we’ll quickly see Apple’s October gains give way to Android successes on the back of devices like the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the first smartphone packing Ice Cream Sandwich. Then again, Apple also now has a free entry-level iPhone as well as a cheaper mid-range option, so the 4S’s success may stand a better chance of being buttressed by those other options in the longer term.

Apple’s iPhone likely isn’t done posting big sales, especially since it’s high on people’s lists in terms of ideal gifts for the holidays, but it’ll have more competition in the coming months. It’ll be interesting to see whether Apple can continue gaining back share in the face of the Android juggernaut, or whether this spike is just a one-time blip on the radar.

  1. iPhone 4S propels Apple back to growth in U.K. smartphones http://t.co/9L7SQ14c

  2. RT @theappleblog: iPhone 4S propels Apple back to growth in U.K. smartphones http://t.co/9L7SQ14c

  3. RT @gigaom: iPhone 4S propels Apple back to growth in U.K. smartphones http://t.co/OIhXw0UR

  4. iPhone 4S propels Apple back to growth in U.K. smartphones http://t.co/ke3zXKgi

  5. RT @victed: iPhone 4S propels Apple back to growth in U.K. smartphones http://t.co/ke3zXKgi

  6. Apple’s 18 month cycle just isn’t going to cut it as the industry as a whole try to out pace each other. Each new iPhone was arguably ahead of the competition at launch, with the 4s they are arguably on par with the competition(Google Nexus, Samsung S2). What happens in the next 18 months?

    1. …and yet, Apple rakes in 65% of the mobile industry profits, being the maker, the supplier, app, software, music and video vendor and all those accessories.
      I would say that IS cutting it – big time!

    2. This is assuming that the industry as a whole cares about spec comparisons and not user experience.

      In terms of spec compare, the 4S will play with the big boys for quite some time due to software optimization, not CPU speed, not RAM, not # of cores, but purely through software optimization. The software experience is what is driving IOS, not hardware.

      Battery life also drives Apple forward. Apple can also do better on less battery because of things like less RAM, hardwired battery and hardwired storage (no SD slots) – all of which have less electrical drain associated with them. Other manu’s will not be able to beat Apple on battery until they make these concessions or somehow beat the laws of physics.

      Lastly Apple is still going hard on gaming into 2012, its certainly helping them. With that said Apple still has the top GPU on the market right now. Its going to be at least early 2012 before any competitors touch that GPU.

      So it comes down to a bandwidth race. So that’s what you have to make your 18 month cycle debate on. LTE will land on iPhone next year, if the market penetration and battery optimizations are decent.

      So are they really lagging simply because of LTE right now? Considering its still being rolled out in major markets far into 2012, I think Apple made the right decision to hold back this year.

    3. “Apple’s 18 month cycle just isn’t going to cut it…”-Anon

      Well, it was a 15 month cycle and it probably was a one time thing. (Apple is unlikely to miss the holiday quarter.)

  7. David E. Albert, M.D Monday, November 28, 2011

    iPhone 4S tops Android for UK smartphone sales. http://t.co/qBHtFoWq

  8. iPhone 4S propels Apple back to growth in U.K. smartphones http://t.co/escuM694

  9. Free Blog Central Monday, November 28, 2011

    iPhone 4S propels Apple back to growth in U.K. smartphones …: Apple won an impressive 42.8 percent of all U.K…. http://t.co/Pe6DX8Jc

  10. iPhone 4S propels Apple back to growth in U.K. smartphones http://t.co/xf5iGmZC

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