check the margin of error

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

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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

4 Responses to “Android and iOS are nearly tied for U.S. smartphone market share”

  1. Raymond Tan

    Despite sales overtaking, prospect for apple is bad. In the past, apple lead in the high-end market selling to those whole are willing to pay premium only while android was holding to mass market to dominate. steve job dont care about market share, he only focus on the most profitable market. now apple is neither controlling higher-end or lower-end market, that spell trouble for apple’s future.

  2. John Blossom

    Shame on you, GigaOM, for a link-trolling headline. Sales share is NOT market share. I repeat, sales share is NOT market share. Everyone knows that Apple ships most I phones in the holidays and then tanks the rest of the year. This has been the very predictable pattern for years. All this really says is that they had a slightly better holiday season.

  3. There is no trend ,it’s a launch quarter for Apple and if this is the trend then the trend will reverse in the next 3 quarters. The year over year share gain is on having 2 flagship models and much bigger screen. It’s a much bigger upgrade cycle and you can’t even draw the conclusion that they have gained any install base share without any data pointing to that.
    In October ComScore had Apple at 41.9% and in Nov at 41.8% US subscribers share.
    And if you look at global sales for the year Apple lost share despite the Q4 upgrade cycle. They might gain 0.5% in 2015 (from 15% to 15.5%) going from 192 mil units to 230 plus or minus 10mil depending on mostly what the next model offers and in 2016 they would likely resume their share loss.