Android and its many devoted OEMs may be growing its market share in leaps and bounds, but it’s Apple and that appears to be challenging for OEM dominance in the U.S., according to research released today from NPD Group.
Apple’s mobile phone sales reached 14 percent of the U.S. market in the first quarter of 2011. According to NPD Group’s numbers, Apple outranked HTC, Motorola and RIM as the third-largest handset brand in the U.S., behind Samsung at 23 percent and LG at 18 percent.
After launching on Verizon’s network in February, Apple’s iPhone 4 further solidified its position as the top-selling mobile phone in the U.S., while the iPhone 3GS, Motorola Droid X, HTC EVO 4G, and HTC Droid Incredible rounded out NPD’s top five mobile phone handset ranking.
Unit sales of smartphones increased 8 percent in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter; however, total handset unit sales fell 1 percent.
“Apple and Verizon had a very successful launch of the iPhone 4, which allowed the iPhone to expand its market share that was previously held back by its prolonged carrier exclusivity with AT&T,” Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis at NPD, said in a statement. “While some of that growth came at the expense of Android operating system (OS), Android models still accounted for half of all smartphones sold in the quarter.”
NPD Group reports that 54 percent of all new mobile-phone handsets purchased by U.S. consumers were smartphones. Driven by increases in smartphone sales in first quarter of 2011, average selling prices for all mobile phones rose 2 percent over the previous quarter to reach $102. Still, average prices for smartphones actually declined by 3 percent, falling to $145.
Android OS lost ground for the first time since the second quarter of 2009, falling to 50 percent of smartphone unit sales in the first quarter of 2011; that’s compared to 53 percent in the prior quarter. Apple iOS share rose 9 percentage points to comprise 28 percent of smartphone unit sales. BlackBerry OS also lost ground, falling 5 points, to 14 percent.
“The rise of Apple and HTC show how companies can drive change in a mature device market to change the rules of the game,” Rubin noted. “The overall success of U.S. market leaders Samsung and LG will be tied to their success in the smartphone market.”