Apple iPhone Surpasses Android in U.S. Sales for October

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Apple's iPhone sales surpassed Android sales for the first time in years in the U.S. market during October, according to a report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. The research firm said that Apple claimed 48.1 percent of all smartphone sales in the U.S. during October, topping Android's 46.7 percent share.

“The last time we saw iOS overtake Android in the US was when the iPhone 4S was released and Apple managed to retain its lead for three consecutive periods," Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said in a statement. "This time we predict that Apple will beat its previous high of 49.3% and achieve its highest ever share of the US smartphone market within the next two periods.”

The report also covered Europe, where Apple showed gains in Great Britain (32.7 percent), France (17.9 percent), Italy (19 percent), and Spain (4 percent), but lost share in Germany (17 percent). Combined, those five markets saw iPhone claim 21.2 percent of the market, a slight increase over the year before, with Android taking 63.9 percent.

Research In Motion (5.3 percent), Windows Phone (4.7 percent), Symbian (2.8 percent), and Samsung's Bada (1.7 percent) fought it out for the rest. In the U.S., Windows Phone took 2.7 percent, RIM took 1.6 percent, and Symbian somehow took 0.3 percent share.

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Chart

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Chart

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech also said that 62 percent of Apple's iPhone sales went to existing customers, while 13 percent were switching from Android. 6 percent were switching from RIM's BlackBerry, and a small number of customers were new to smartphones.

According to Mr. Sunnebo, “Apple has always managed to maintain loyalty levels far above the competition, and this has clearly played a part in driving sales of its new device. An impressive 92% of existing Apple owners in the US said they will choose an iPhone the next time they upgrade. While loyalty is clearly key, it is also important to make sure that new customers are attracted to your brand. With roughly 60% of US iPhone 5 sales coming from existing customers and 40% from new consumers, Apple is achieving this at the moment – a clear sign of the strength of the brand in the US marketplace.”

Kantar measured sales in "urban China" for the first time in this report, showing Apple with 19.7 percent share and Android with 67.5 percent share. This is the fastest growing smartphone market on the planet, and is thus a hot topic for market watchers of all sorts.

In Australia, Apple lost share to claim 29.4 percent of the market.

It remains to be seen how IDC and Gartner will report their numbers.