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Nielsen: Android Surges to No. 1 in Recent Sales

Nielsen is adding its voice to the chorus of research firms confirming the ascension of Android (s goog). Nielsen said among recent acquirers of smartphones in the last six months through August, Android was the top platform in the U.S., with 32 percent of new purchases, followed by the iPhone (s aapl) and Research In Motion’s (s rimm) BlackBerry platform, tied at about 25 percent.

When looking at overall market share, RIM remains on top with 31 percent, trailed by the iPhone at 28 percent and Android at 19 percent. But the race continues to tighten with RIM maintaining a slide from 37 percent in February. The iPhone has remained largely stable during that period, while Android market share is up from 8 percent in February.

The recent purchase numbers from August put Android’s momentum into better context. We can see that even with the boost from the iPhone 4, Apple smartphones are still getting outsold by a flock of Android devices. RIM’s slide is even more pronounced in these numbers as well, plummeting from 35 percent to 25 percent from June to August.

The Nielsen figures are generally consistent with other data from NPD and ComScore. During the second quarter, NPD reported that Android phones represented 33 percent of new smartphone purchases, compared to 28 percent for BlackBerry and 22 percent for Apple’s iPhone. ComScore said RIM’s overall market share remained at 39.3 percent in July, ahead of iPhone (23.8 percent) and Android (18 percent).

It’s hard to see how the Android momentum will subside. New survey data from Changewave shows that interest among people who will buy a smartphone in the next three months has grown from 30 percent in June to 37 percent in September, basically equal with the iPhone, now at 38 percent, down from 50 percent in June.

With Verizon Wireless (s vz) hinting that an iPhone launch is not imminent, it only makes Android an even more attractive option. If people had any hope that the iPhone would break free of AT&T (s t), we might at least see some cooling Android interest. But if Android is the best non-iPhone game in town and it’s available on every carrier, it seems to have no lack of interest from consumers.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d):

33 Responses to “Nielsen: Android Surges to No. 1 in Recent Sales”

  1. I’m reading those comments and my first impression is that the problem lies not with the product itself but the way that providers are delivering Android phones with their tariffs. That’s obvious that Android will be at the very top of the list right now but for me the plans are way too high. I’ve done some research and found this usefull site You can easily compare one tariff to another and choose the best one for you

  2. Given how many mobile providers offer Android, it doesn’t come as a surprise. However, that doesn’t mean anything concerning it’s quality, just like PC vs. Mac. PC has the majority of the market by a huge margin. So what. That does not mean I need to subscribe to any of it. Same goes for the Android. Let them have it …. in the meantime I tremendously enjoy my mac and iphone.

  3. I said it before and I’ll say it again. Why would anyone buy a device worth, according to this article, $650 (and that retails for about $1000 without a contract), that could ONLY be used on one network, Verizon, for the life of the phone? That would be a pretty stupid purchase, unless you can afford to discard the phone if you want to change networks. At least with AT&T, you can change the SIM card and put the phone on another network, even in another country. That’s what MODERN phones do, not the ones that have to use an old, outdated entirely proprietary system to be on Verizon.

    Those people who champion Verizon are also the ones who berate Apple for being a “closed” system. What could be more closed than Verizon, where the phones can NEVER EVER EVER be used on another network?

    • worldbfree4me

      I don’t know how it works over the pond, but here in the States you can re-sell your phone quite easily. When I’m done with my Sprint (CDMA) Powered EVO 4G. I plan to sell it, either back to Sprint or to some other online Re-seller like the 10 phones before it. I don’t keep Cell phones longer than 18 months because like you said “They become outdated.” BTW, also in the States, GSM is second to CDMA because of voice quality!

  4. The open source will leading all aspect technology, because supported by community.
    RIM and Iphone main target is sell the life style, high cost and exclusive, but the Android sell the comunity..

  5. Swoytek

    It’s not important to me who does better, as long as they all keep making devices.

    Still, when Apple chose to sign an exclusive agreement with AT&T, they had to know they would be at a disadvantage regarding potential sales until that contract ends. Apple is limiting themselves to about one-third of the U.S. wireless subscribing population. Looking at sales into each device’s retail channel, Android should be selling three-times the number of devices. Even making adjustments for people who were willing to switch to AT&T for the iPhone (three-years ago), I’d say Android should be selling at least twice as many devices as iPhone.

    Based on the data above, RIM is the only company I see struggling.

    Wireless Subscribers per Provider
    AT&T Mobility: 90.1 million
    Verizon Wireless: 92.1 million
    Sprint Nextel: 48.2 million
    T-Mobile: 33.6 million

    Top Four total: 264.0 million

  6. Graham J

    Oops, small typo:

    “Apple smartphones are still getting outsold by a flock of Android devices.”

    should read:

    “Apple’s smartphone is still getting outsold by a flock of Android devices.”

    Shocking ;)

  7. The only reason iOS is not further destroyed by Android on this graph, is because iPhone 4 was released in June (70% purchased by repeat apple buyers). If you look at September stats, Android is even much further in front of apple and rim!!

  8. Narayanan

    It is clear that RIMM is being completely swallowed up by Android. The lack of iOS on other carriers is a significant Android advantage as well.

    In Europe, it is interesting that the iOS gains are higher compared to Android’s over the same period. This contrasts with the rather flat profile for iOS in US which suggests AT&T saturation.

  9. Exrabies

    Let me translate this for you: “Almost all other phone companies combined outsell Apple”. That’s interesting … not.

    Who needs stats like this anyway. Usually companies exist to make money. My guess is that at the end of holiday quarter Apple’s mobile profit share has risen from 40% to 50% or more.

    • Android phone makers are taking below $400 per phone sold. Apple is still demanding $650 per iphone sold to AT&T through the exclusivity. In other countries, telecoms are already pressuring Apple to lower its fee per iphone as telcos can just as well choose to sell Android devices instead to just as satisfied customers and keep more of the money to themselves.

      You can obviously guess what happens once AT&T is not interested in keeping the iphone exclusivity anymore in the usa. Verizon will never pay as much per iphone if apple wants to sell it on their network. And AT&T will not pay the same price anymore as they can have just as good Android hardware for less than 30% cheaper.

      What you will see is Apple loosing half of its iphone profit margins in a very short time. And the iphone represents more than half of Apple’s current yearly revenues and profits. I say, look forward to Apple’s $268 Billion valuation to go crushing down on the bad news.

    • cluestick

      “Who needs stats like this anyway?”

      Developers, developers, developers.

      If you are developing a mobile app and want to reach the largest possible audience, you are very interested in knowing what the dominant mobile platform is going to be over the next two years.

      Nobody cares which manufacturer sold the most phones this month (unless you own stock in one of those companies). It’s all about the platform.

    • Steve Jobs- twice a loser. Maybe, he’ll find a product he can win on: the magical, super, fabulous iToothpick, made from unicorns’ horns, or maybe he won’t

      • Lee Van

        I’m pretty sure he is raping the tablet platform, and once iPhone goes Verizon, there will be no stopping it. It’s not hard to be a number one seller if you are on every single carrier.

      • The only thing Steve Jobs is raping is the pocketbook of his fanbois for selling such a half-baked, overhyped, overpriced trinket. Only 3 million iPads sold? you would think more Apple fanbois would toss their Macs out the window and get it.

        Even if the iPhone ever goes Verizon, it’s just another carrier to add to the 154 that already carry the iPhone, compared to only 59 that have Androids, but still more people are getting Androids than iPhones.

    • And Apple making money helps you how? Does Apple put food on your table from all of it’s profits, does it shelter you, help your family in a time of need?