SOURCE: Kantar Worldpanel ComTech

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech

March 09, 2016 08:00 ET

Data From Kantar Shows Android Leading iOS Among US Feature Phone Owners Upgrading to Smartphones

Between February 2015 and January 2016, Only 26% of Samsung Smartphones in Use in the US Were Upgraded

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Mar 9, 2016) - The latest sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech for the three months ending in January 2016 shows that in the US, the battle to persuade feature phone owners to upgrade to a smartphone was won by Android, which saw nearly a third (30.6%) of sales come from that segment, compared to 13.7% for iOS.

"Among first-time smartphone buyers in the Android ecosystem, Samsung was the top brand purchased, followed by LG, Motorola, and value-driven brands ZTE and Alcatel," explained Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. "Carrier choice also suggests a more value-driven consumer, with Tracfone Wireless and MetroPCS among the top five carriers chosen."

Smartphone vendors are moving into new segments such as Virtual Reality, like HTC and Samsung, or 2-in-1s, like Huawei. Others will venture into new markets, like Xiaomi, which introduced its new flagship during the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

"The pressure is certainly on," Milanesi observed, "and, for a lot of up-and-coming brands, the US will be a strong focus in 2016, since success in the North American market opens the door to being a truly global player. While the immediate focus of consumers and industry watchers alike will remain on Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 edge performance, and on Apple's rumoured release of another four-inch iPhone in mid-March, it certainly looks like the second half of this year will be very interesting for everyone."

At the end of January, the Galaxy S6 represented only 9% of Samsung's installed base in the US, and the Galaxy S6 edge a mere 2%. The Galaxy S5 remained the most popular device in the installed base, representing 21.5% followed by the Galaxy S4 -- now a three-year-old phone -- at 14.2%.

"Between February 2015 and January 2016, only 26% of Samsung smartphones in use were upgraded," Milanesi added. "This creates a huge opportunity for Samsung to persuade consumers it is time to upgrade to the new devices."

Of the 26% of Samsung devices that were upgraded, the greatest percentage (27.5%) chose the Galaxy S5, 26.2% selected the Galaxy S6, 9.4% the Galaxy Note 4, 7.9% the Galaxy Note 5, and 5% the Galaxy S6 edge. The rest of the upgrades were divided among 33 different models, demonstrating how wide the Samsung offering remains in the US market, despite all the attention being given to its flagship products. Only 3.6% of current Galaxy S6 owners said they are planning to upgrade their smartphone in the next 12 months.

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About Kantar Worldpanel

Kantar Worldpanel is the global expert in shoppers' behavior.

Through continuous monitoring, advanced analytics, and tailored solutions, Kantar Worldpanel inspires successful decisions by brand owners, retailers, market analysts, and government organizations globally. With over 60 years' experience, a team of 3,500, and services covering 60 countries directly or through partners, Kantar Worldpanel turns purchase behavior into competitive advantage in markets as diverse as FMCG, impulse products, fashion, baby, telecommunications and entertainment, among many others.

Kantar Worldpanel is part of the Kantar Group, one of the world's largest insight, information, and consultancy networks. The Kantar Group is the data investment management division of WPP.

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