iPhone Crushes Android at AT&T Corporate Stores in December

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Apple’s iPhone outsold Android devices 7.8:1 at AT&T’s corporate retail stores in December. A source inside the company told The Mac Observer that those stores moved some 981,000 iPhones between December 1st and December 27th, and that the Apple device accounted for some 66% of all device sales in the period. Android devices, on the other hand, accounted for just 8.5% of sales in the same period.

AT&T Device Share from 12/1/2011 to 12/27/2011

Chart by The Mac Observer

According to the numbers we were shown—numbers not shared through official AT&T channels—AT&T sold some 981,000 iPhones through its corporate stores in the first 27 days of December, while 126,000 Android devices were sold during the same period. Even basic flip and slider phones did better than Android, with 128,000 units sold.

Research In Motion’s BlackBerry platform is also struggling at AT&T’s corporate stores, with some 74,000 devices sold during that time frame. Windows Phone 7 is reportedly even less of a factor.

There are several caveats that go along with this story. The first is that the numbers are only for AT&T’s corporate-owned fleet of retail stores. They don’t include authorized resellers, online sales, telephone sales, or any other retail outlets. The numbers also do not include devices sold through Apple. Secondly, while we are confident in our source, we were unable to corroborate our numbers with AT&T’s official PR channels or other sources.

As such the point of the story isn’t that iPhone has taken 66% of the market, but rather that the iPhone is doing very well in one particular environment, AT&T’s corporate retail stores. As the first iPhone carrier in the world, AT&T has been the dominant iPhone carrier in the U.S. since day one, and AT&T has consistently claimed that the iPhone is its best selling device.

At the same time, Verizon was the first carrier to fully and deeply embrace the Android platform, and at Big Red, Android devices have heretofore collectively outsold the iPhone since it was introduced early in 2011.

The reality is that in the September quarter, Android devices outsold iPhone by nearly 2:1 around the world. Earlier on Friday, research firm comScore reported numbers for November that show in the U.S., Google had 46.9% of the smartphone market compared to Apple’s 28.7% during the month of November.

The big picture isn’t reflected by AT&T’s numbers, at least not during December. We should add, however, that December is a heavy holiday buying month, and Apple’s iOS devices are a hot holiday item that boost Apple’s share higher than it might otherwise be during the rest of the year.

AT&T declined to comment for our story, pointing to the company’s official policy not breakdown sales numbers.

[Updated at 9:08 PM EST with AT&T’s decision to decline comment. - Editor]

Comments

ctt1wbw

How can that be?  Android is “open” and has bigger screens!!!

wab95

This market share tussle is quite nuanced. Philip Elmer-DeWitt posted today a piece showing that, although Android continues to outsell iOS devices (he actually contrasted Android and iPhones, but enough said), Android market share growth has slowed while Apple’s has gained.

There is enough substructure in the market to mislead unwary investors making superficial comparisons, and give pause to competing camps.

What the cumulative date continue to point out, to my reading, is that the iPhone is still the standard by which all other smartphones are assayed, still dominates mindshare, not to mention profitshare, and is the device to beat.

sweet reason

what is “7:8:1” supposed to mean?

katiepea

Weird, every non-mac oriented tech blog shows devastating stats in androids favor. Oh..you narrowed it down to fit your agenda. Lol. IPHONE SPANKED ANDROID AT 12:46 PM ON DECEMBER 25th in Billings Montana at target. Give me a break with this article. Nobody thinks IOS is selling remotely close to android at this point, NOBODY. Just look at advertising, apps on tv now are mentioning android more than ios. They know.

this guy

Nobody thinks IOS is selling remotely close to android at this point, NOBODY.

That pretty much sums it up.

Bryan Chaffin

what is ?7:8:1? supposed to mean?

Thanks for catching that. It was supposed to read 7.8:1, and I’ve now corrected it.

Bryan Chaffin

Oh..you narrowed it down to fit your agenda.

I didn’t narrow anything down, and no rational reading of this article would suggest that I did.

What I did do was receive a set of data, explain that said data was not representative of the market as a whole, provided additional information that contradicts the subset represented by these AT&T numbers, and then furthermore offered context to help explain how this Ma Bell bubble might exist.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

A brief search for some underlying data points to put this in perspective shows that this story is getting picked up around the web. Even taking into account New Years weekend, I give it until Saturday noon before AT&T issues a clarification that takes some shine off this rose.

My bet is that your source picked one Android phone, didn’t include data for the rest. Bonus bet is that you have the number for the Galaxy S II.

Steve

iPhones cost the same everywhere, Android phones are priced higher in corporate stores, look at the same phones priced at independent retailers, especially online where they are much cheaper. Also AT&T doesn’t carry a very good selection of Android either in general.

Bryan Chaffin

Brad, I am confident in my interpretation of the numbers as presented. My source completely understood what they were telling me and understood from whence the data came.

If there’s an error, it will be wholesale in nature, and not nit-picky, but I suspect they are accurate.

Furthermore, on the assumption that they are accurate, this has been part of the overall market share numbers all along. As stated in the story and implied in my comments above, I do not believe that this represents some kind of sea change in the balance of power, but is rather an interesting glimpse into a niche part of the market.

Ross Edwards

Weird, every non-mac oriented tech blog shows devastating stats in androids favor.

Well, notwithstanding what the “tech blogs” report, NPD’s numbers show the top selling smartphones are the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS.  And that, until the arrival of the Kindle Fire whose sales stats we can only ever speculate at, the iPad was achieving sell-through (not channel-stuffing) market share of around 90%.  Go ahead and Google it, you’ll find plenty of sound data to back these figures. 

The most “devastating” Android stats out there are that the carriers are doing amazingly well at selling BOGO or PAYG Android devices, where there is no profit.  Furthermore, for those Fandroids who do shell out the bucks for a higher-end model, it appears that even when you’re still under contract, you may not get any support or even a current version of the OS: Check it out.

What Android has going for it right now is ubiquity.  That’s about it.  And that’s more a function of carrier desperation to carry something, anything, to meet the growing and insatiable demand for smartphones today.  Right now you can slap together a slab of anything and if it allows web browsing, it will sell.  The market will reach a saturation point, however, and at that point all the non-price-sensitive buyers will want something a little better than a Huawei shingle.  Apple, Microsoft, and RIM will concede the bottom of the market to the Android handset vendors.  Good luck with that.

chad

First off, most android users couldn’t care less whether or not they have the newest software. The differences are pretty subtle, and the vast majority of apps run the same in 2.2+. Second, of course the iPhone models will sell more, if I’m looking for a new iPhone I have 3 models to choose from.  If I’m looking from android, if have 300. That’s like saying because more macbooks are sold than dell d830s, that Macs are selling better than windows PC’s. I have no problem with android or iPhone users but the fanatics on both sides and their skewed data is ridiculous. Personally, I choose android, because I like it better. If you like ios, use it. To each his own.

Mark

Second, of course the iPhone models will sell more, if I?m looking for a new iPhone I have 3 models to choose from.? If I?m looking from android, if have 300.

Chad makes a good point. You’re comparing apples to oranges here.  Android is an OS available on MOST ALL “other” phones.  So we have to assume Android is selling much, much more.  But if you compare, iPhones, to Samsung, to Motorola, to Crackberries, what do those numbers look like.

mtelesha

Yellow Journalism. I have a source that says _____. Give us a source or an official document. Also list what percentage of the AT&T sales are through corporate offices. I heard it is single digits.

Android 56% market share in US.

Apple had a commanding lead and fell way behind like they always do. If they changed their closed philosophy and stop being evil they once in their life be a market leader. They have never been one for long except iPod, which was a sub par piece of equipment with a closed eco-system. (iTunes anyone)

phone guru

These stats are of course just showing a small fraction of the buyers of cell phones during the holiday season and they are actually reversed. The main reason that AT&T show such high numbers is that people can go so many other places for Android phones and very few for Iphone. As started before Android is the highest sold OS(period). The apple is always playing catch-up, because its the smartphone for dummies, with no new technology advancements since its release in 2007. Any true tech person knows this. 8mp camera, had it 2009, voice to text had it 2009 & now 10 different languages, SIRI are you serious old, had voice search and genius button. Let us see something new.

ctt1wbw

Why do people invest so much time defending Android?  Do you have a personal vested interest in it?  The [expletive deleted] article is about PHONES not OSs.  Yes, Android can be slapped on any freaking piece of [expletive deleted] phone and you Android fanboys come to every single blog and tech blog and Apple blog and brag about that fact.

Yes, you can get a free Android phone at the gas station…  who cares?  The article is about phones.

Ross Edwards

First off, most android users couldn?t care less whether or not they have the newest software.

So you’re saying TECH GEEKS don’t care whether they are running the newest software or not?  Sorry man, that doesn’t pass the ole’ b.s. detector one bit. 

Android 56% market share in US.

Ask HP how leading the market share race in PCs is working for them.  (Your number is bogus too, but then again you’re just a troll.)

chad

Why do people invest so much time defending Android? Do you have a personal vested interest in it? The fucking article is about PHONES not OSs. Yes, Android can be slapped on any freaking piece of shit phone and you Android fanboys come to every single blog and tech blog and Apple blog and brag about that fact.

Yes, you can get a free Android phone at the gas station? who cares? The article is about phones.

I’m not defending anything. We have an ipad two, and 2 android phones (galaxy s II), in our house. Why do fans on both sides waste so much time arguing about which is better? Clearly since both platforms sell very well,  some people must prefer android and others iOS.  Use what you like and stop worrying about the popularity contest. Neither Google nor apple or any other company cares as much about us as some of the polarized fans on both sides care about them.

chad

So you?re saying TECH GEEKS don?t care whether they are running the newest software or not? Sorry man, that doesn?t pass the ole? b.s. detector one bit. [/quote.]

Believe it or not, most people buying smart phones are not tech geeks. My mother neither knows nor cares if she’s running android strawberry shortcake or whatever the newest one is, as long as she gets apps,texts, calls, and emails. And the real tech geeks can find ways to get the latest software on their devices. I’m typing this from a nook color running Android 4.0, after all. I also love my ipad as well. People, really, it’s not that serious.

jeramyeggs

It is funny that you mention bogo, and free phones. Best buy just did a bogo of the iPhone 4, and now free with 2 year contract. What does it sat when the largest electronics store in the country is trying to unload the iPhone 4? Nor do you mention how the kindle fire has outsold iPad at best buy or target. I love how you skew the information. Distortion field intact…

Lee Dronick

What does it sat when the largest electronics store in the country is trying to unload the iPhone 4?

It says that people want the iPhone 4S

Jz

iPhone 4 16G and 32G models are discontinued, Bestbuy is trying to clear the inventory of these orphaned models.  IPhone 4 8G and iPhone 4S models are currently in short supply.

Jz

IPhone 4 16G and 32G models are discontinued. bestbuy is trying to clear its inventory of these orphaned models. iPhone 4 8G and iPhone 4S models are currently in short supply.

Ross Edwards

Best buy just did a bogo of the iPhone 4, and now free with 2 year contract. What does it sat when the largest electronics store in the country is trying to unload the iPhone 4?

It says they are an authorized Apple reseller and therefore prohibited under contract from retaining discontinued inventory, so they chose to clear it rather than to send it back under Apple’s stock buyback terms.  You will observe that the 8GB iPhone 4, which is currently being produced, was not part of the promotion.

This is hardly unique in retail, BTW.  Companies such as PING, Subaru, and Wizards of the Coast impose seemingly cryptic restrictions on what products are available through their wholesale channels, to whom, and when.  This was all made possible by the ruling in a Supreme Court case from a few years back called Leegin Creative Leather Products v. PSKS Inc.  The Court, in brief, held that restrictions of this sort are not per se vertical restraints on trade when the restrictions are tied to the marketing of a product category, brand, or channel, and thus not mooted by the first-sale doctrine.

So no, it’s just Business As Usual (Tm) and not a sign of some loss of market affinity for an Apple product, and not the result of the mythical “Reality Distortion Field.”  It’s a simple case of commercial law in action.  The More You Know (Tm)

mhikl

Such squabbles over the obvious. It?s Christmas time, a time for giving and from the heart. You don?t give crap at Christmas.

BlahBlahBlahBlah

BTW might I mention that TMO USA was really the first major carrier to embrace android!!! G1 Anyone??????? This is coming from an iPhone user, if you are going to post articles like this with supposed “facts” then don’t distort them and GET THEM RIGHT!!!!! goes a long way in your credibility…...

Bryan Chaffin

BTW might I mention that TMO USA was really the first major carrier to embrace android!!! G1 Anyone??????? This is coming from an iPhone user, if you are going to post articles like this with supposed ?facts? then don?t distort them and GET THEM RIGHT!!!!! goes a long way in your credibility?...

T-Mobile may have carried the G1, but Verizon committed to Android like no other carrier, and it was the first to make that kind a commitment on such a scale in the U.S. Try rereading the part of the article you are criticizing if you don’t understand the nuances.

BlahBlahBlahBlah

Please, Verizon would still be feeding everyone locked phones if it wasn’t for T-Mobile committing to Android in the first place.  Your article with distorted facts is a joke.  To say they were the first to commit even on a large scale is falsehood, to say they committed and followed suit after the success and promise of the G1 would have been a better statement.  There’s no denying that their contributions to the “Droid” line becoming a household name have made an astonishingly large impact but again do not distort fact from fiction such as trying to make the iPhone look like a better seller than it is.  Sure it’s a great device in it’s own right but to make the article look like its dominating Android hands down as a whole wreaks of biased journalism.

zewazir

For all those android defenders, let’s say your figures are correct. (Which is doubtful, considering other data shows iOS to still command a slight majority over Android and other brands of smartphone OS.)

All this iOS vs Android is a bunch of hubris.  Apple Corp. is a HARDWARE company, and when it comes to HARDWARE sales, iPhone dominates, as does iPad, and iPod.  The ONLY way you anti-apple dweebs (why aren’t you off posting to pro Android sites instead of trolling a pro-Apple site?) can make the numbers come out in your favor is by concentrating on the OS, which is NOT what Apple Corp. is about. Apple simply uses their OS as a unique selling feature of the iPhone - and is doing so quite successfully. Apples PRODUCT is the iPhone itself, not just the iOS that runs on it. Conversely, Goggle’s PRODUCT in the smartphone market is Android, by itself, as Google does not sell hardware. And that is fine, since Apple is not about to sell their iOS to competing smartphone manufacturers. Competition is good for everyone.

But the bottom line is there is no valid direct comparison of an operating system, alone, to a hardware item that includes a different operating system. All the “Android is outselling Apple iOS” cries are basically meaningless, because it is making an invalid comparison.

And the second bottom line is iPhone is outselling any single other smartphone, and indeed, is still outselling a large number of competing brands combined, while iPad is outselling ALL other tablets combined, and iPod STILL outsells all other MP3 players combined. And that is great news for Apple stock holders.

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