Google’s Android operating system led the market with the largest share of device activations in the fourth quarter 2016, but lost share to Apple’s iOS, new data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) shows.
According to CIRP, Android accounted for 65 percent of U.S. activations during the October to December period, gaining year over year from 58 percent in December 2015 but losing share sequentially from 71 percent in the September quarter to Apple’s iOS platform. By contrast, CIRP data indicates iOS lost share year over year but gained sequentially to reach 33 percent of activations in the most recent quarter. Apple’s iOS previously held 41 percent of the activation share in December 2015 and 26 percent of share in the September 2016 quarter.
CIRP attributed the fourth quarter bump for Apple to its release of the iPhone 7, but noted the device was up against a heavy hitting lineup of Android devices.
“In the first full quarter after the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus launch, long-term trends remained consistent, with Apple iOS increasing its share over the September quarter,” CIRP Partner and Co-Founder Josh Lowitz observed. ”Despite the comparison to an ‘S’ launch last year, iOS share was down over the September-December 2015 quarter. This likely resulted from a strong portfolio of competing Android phones introduced throughout 2016.”
By brand, CIRP noted market leader Samsung did see losses during the quarter – probably thanks in part to its Galaxy Note 7 recall – while other new, “mostly low-priced” Android makers gained share. In the fourth quarter, “other” brands accounted for 14 percent of U.S. mobile phone sales, the highest level seen by the firm to date.
CIRP said its findings are based on a survey of 500 U.S. subjects, from January 1-12, 2017, who activated a new or used phone in the October-December 2016 period.
The CIRP data fleshes out a holiday snapshot of activations by brand provided by Flurry last month that indicated Apple activations were more than double those of Samsung in the week leading up to Christmas.
Flurry’s data, which is gathered through its global database via the company’s SDK in apps, indicated Apple devices accounted for 44 percent of device activations by manufacturer, while Samsung accounted for just 21 percent. Huawei trailed in a distant third with 3 percent while LG, Amazon, Oppo, Xiaomi, and Motorola followed with 2 percent each.