Android and iOS are nearly tied for U.S. smartphone market share

A new report from Kantar Worldpanel tracking smartphone sales in the United States indicated that phones running Apple’s iOS operating system may have passed those running Android in terms of market share.

According to Carolina Milanese, who wrote the report, iOS sales “overtook” Android sales by a tiny 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. If true, this would be the first quarter in two years in which more devices running iOS than Android sold in the United States.

The report says that iOS devices accounted for 47.7 percent of sales in the fourth quarter, while Android devices — from various manufacturers — accounted for 47.6 percent of sales.

It’s not a surprise that Apple is surging: The company said that it had sold a staggering 74.5 million iPhones worldwide at an average price of just under $700 earlier this month. Even if the breakdown between iOS and Android is near a dead heat, it’s clear that Apple has the momentum.

The iPhone is doing well in Europe and parts of Asia too. The report indicated that iOS’s percentage share in Europe was up 6.2 percent year over year as Android’s share declined by 3.8 percent. In fact, the only European market that saw Android’s market share increase was Italy, which the report notes is a “strong pre-pay market.”

Depending on where you live, you could be forgiven if you believed that iOS already had the majority of U.S. market share. The United States is a key market, and startups and more established companies use market share distribution figures to determine where to devote developer resources. Apps do tend to come out for iOS first.

There’s one major reason you might not be hearing Apple CEO Tim Cook cite this Kantar Worldpanel study in his next iOS reveal, though: 0.1 percent is a tiny margin, and could easily be negated by the study’s margin of error, which Kantar doesn’t share. It’s much safer to say based on this report that it looks as if Android and iOS are nearly tied in terms of United States market share than to say iOS has taken the lead. Plus, the report doesn’t take into account devices sold in previous quarters that may still be in use.

If you want to dig deeper into the trends, which include Windows Phone figures as well, Kantar Worldpanel has a nifty interactive map using its data and conclusions. Below are are the full charts from the report.

kantar smartphone figures 1/2015