Apple’s iOS captured 53.3 percent of all new smartphone sales in the U.S. during the 12-week period ending November 25, 2012, according to a report released Monday by consumer research firm Kantar Worldpanel. This most recent measured quarter marks the first time that the iPhone has surpassed 50 percent sales share.
The iPhone’s main rival, Android, fared much worse during the same period, falling 10.9 percent to 41.9 percent of the overall U.S. smartphone market, while Windows Phone took 2.7 percent.
Perhaps more interesting, the report also revealed the upgrade paths of many smartphone purchasers, providing a glimpse at the behavior of new and longtime Apple customers. Of those respondents who purchased an iPhone in November, 27 percent were upgrading from another smartphone OS, 34 percent were upgrading from a previous model of iPhone, and a significant 40 percent were purchasing their first smartphone.
Kantar Worldpanel derives its data from consumer interviews and measures recent smartphone purchases. This is different from another recently-discussed research firm, comScore, which tracks usage share. In simple terms, Kantar Worldpanel’s survey asks (in TMO’s paraphrasing) “Did you purchase a smartphone in the last three months and, if so, tell us about it,” whereas comScore’s survey asks “Do you own a smartphone (purchased at any time) and, if so, tell us about it.”
comScore’s recent report showed Apple with 18.5 percent of U.S. usage share overall (including non-smartphone “feature” phones) and 35.0 percent of U.S. smartphone usage share.
If both firm’s numbers are indeed accurate, the recent sales numbers from Kantar Worldpanel are very good for the Cupertino iDevice maker. While Apple is trailing Android-based phones overall, it is currently outselling Android at a significant pace, leading to larger usage share numbers in the future.
It should be noted, however, that the Kantar Worldpanel survey took place during the peak of the iPhone 5’s popularity after its launch in September. Apple’s sales numbers could very well fall back below 50 percent in future quarters once the demand and interest for the iPhone 5 has subsided.
Apple will announce its official results for the first fiscal quarter, including iPhone sales figures, during an investor call on Wednesday, January 23 at 5:00 PM EST. The Mac Observer will provide live coverage of the call and analysis of the results.