Apple Maintains Leadership in US Smartphone Market


Apple remained the market leader in the US smartphone market while Samsung had top market share for smartphones and feature phones, according to comScore’s Mobile Future in Focus 2013. The report shares key insights into the US mobile market which serve to be a glimpse of certain trends that may see adoption in India in the coming years.

Multi-platform content consumption

Almost all the top web properties including websites that belong to Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Amazon, AOL, Apple, ESPN and Twitter witnessed double digit growth in traffic from mobile audiences. According to comScore’s metrics, more than 1 in 3 minutes were spent on devices other than PC, which included smartphones and tablets.

Interestingly, data traffic from desktop computers peaked during the day and tailed off beyond 8 pm after which traffic from tablets and smartphones began to peak. This indicated that content consumption from mobile devices was on the rise when people were either on-the-go or in a relaxed setting.

smartphone user time

From an India perspective, deconstructing this usage pattern may give e-commerce portals and e-tailers an opportunity to get a head start into predicting the most likely time slots during which online shoppers login via mobile devices. Precise product promotions, wider advertisement options and opportunities to target niche audiences at specific time slots during the day may be the pillars of a successful online marketing campaign.

Apple dominates smartphone market in US

Apple continued to be the leader in the smartphone market. Various models of Apple’s iPhone including iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 5 took the top 4 spots in comScore’s list of top 5 most acquired phones in US. Samsung Galaxy S III was the last and only non-Apple device in the list. Apple’s iPad was followed by Amazon Kindle Fire/Fire HD, Acer Iconica, Samsung Galaxy Note/Tab and Barnes & Noble Nook to finish off the list of top 5 most acquired tablets in the US market in 2012.

smartphone subjscribers

comScore saw the iPhone’s sustained popularity and increasing affordability as key factors driving an expansion of Apple’s market presence in US in 2012. Samsung remained the top mobile handset manufacturer in terms of market share which included smartphones and feature phones. In a recent report, IDC noted Apple as the leader in the global smart connected device market. In Q3 2012, the average selling price of Apple’s smart devices including iPhone and iPad was seen to be $310 higher than that of Samsung.

From an India perspective, Apple’s iPhone continues to remain a premium product. Android based low entry-cost smartphones are a popular choice with the masses. However as the smartphone market and consumer preferences evolve, commentators are seeing Apple’s iPhone as a more serious contender.

Even Apple seems to have recognized the large Indian market’s potential. A recent report outlined the company’s newfound aggressive strategy for India. Apple began offering iPhone 5 for affordable monthly installments and added two distributors, leading to a three-fold sequential growth in iPhone sales in Q4 2012.

Top purchase considerations

In US, network quality of the mobile service provider and a smartphone’s operating system were the top considerations before a purchase was made. Brand and price were not amongst the top factors influencing a purchase decision. This does not come as a surprise because 85% of smartphone users in US prefer contracted services, as seen in a recent survey about how Indian and global consumers pay for mobile services.

From an India perspective, brand and price remain to be some of the top factors influencing purchase decisions. Nearly 84% of smartphone users in India opt for prepaid mobile services according to Nielsen, making price a determining factor for purchases. Recently companies have been offering contract based services and handset installment plans, which have made an impact on shipments.

Android’s surge in US

comScore’s metrics reveal that android based devices have captured a majority of the US smartphone market. By the end of 2012, 53% of all smartphones were running on android OS while 36% devices were running iOS. Android has captured more than half of US’ smartphone market in just five years after being introduced to the market in 2007.

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