NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Nov 9, 2016) - The latest smartphone OS sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows a solid US market share increase for iOS during the third quarter of 2016, rising from 29% to 34.2%. Both iOS and Android made gains across most of the EU5 countries. Europe's big five markets include Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. However, Android posted a 3.3 percentage point decline in the US from 66.7 to 63.4%, while iOS share fell in Germany from 17.5% to 15% and in Urban China from 18.7% to 14.2%.
"In the US, the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus made an immediate impact, becoming the best-selling smartphones in the month of September at 17.1%," reported Lauren Guenveur, Consumer Insight Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. "Strong sales of the iPhone 7 and the lower-priced iPhone 6s, the second best-selling device in the US in September, contributed to an overall growth of iOS in the third quarter of 2016."
Despite some residual sales of the discontinued Samsung Galaxy Note 7, still available through the month of September, Samsung posted a year-on-year share decline from 36.9% to 33.8% of US smartphone sales in the third quarter.
Evolving Purchase Behavior
Many of the consumers who plan to buy their next smartphone during the 2016 holiday period are likely to be those who have not bought one over the past two years, according to Guenveur.
"The trend by US carriers away from subsidized device contracts to installment payments was expected to shorten the lifespan of smartphones, but it seems to have done the opposite," she said. "In the 12 months ending September 2014, consumers held onto their phones for an average of 21 months before purchasing new ones, but that timeframe now hovers closer to 23 months."
As newer models push the limits of the technology, demonstrated by the battery issues with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, consumers will find that the marketplace has changed, with the largest difference coming in how people pay to acquire their devices. Over the past several years, the big four carriers have mostly abandoned the traditional contract system, which hid the cost of the phone within the monthly bill. Sprint is now the only US carrier that still offers a Galaxy or iPhone for a subsidized price around $200.
"This clearer visibility into the full cost of the phone, especially with higher-priced flagships such as the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7, is motivating many consumers to keep their old model until it breaks, or until a new, 'must-have' feature convinces them their current phone is no longer adequate," Guenveur added. "Buyers can now expect mobile plans to be more like car leases. They enter a financing agreement for two years, pay a monthly installment towards the cost of the device until the contract ends, then either start a new lease with a new phone or keep the old one."
Another option for consumers, noted by Guenveur, is to buy from a source other than a carrier. This is the path followed by a small but growing portion of the market -- 19% of consumers did not purchase their phones from a carrier in Q3 2016, up from 16% in the same period two years earlier. A growing number are buying from Amazon, up this year from 4% to 6%, or from other online outlets, up from 26% to 33%.
For more details on US market activity, see Lauren Guenveur's latest blog post at: www.kantarworldpanel.com/global/News/Smartphones-in-the-USA-A-Two-Year-Retrospective
To view complete global OS data and an optional PDF file, please visit: www.kantarworldpanel.com/global/News/-iPhone-7-and-7-Plus-Boost-iOS-Share-in-US
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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. For more information, please visit: www.kantarworldpanel.com