Samsung now sells one in four U.S. smartphones, bolstered by growing pre-paid sales.

Samsung now sells one in four U.S. smartphones, bolstered by growing pre-paid sales. 

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, May 2, 2012 – According to The NPD Group, a leading market research company, Samsung has become a dominant manufacturer of Android smartphones in the U.S. Samsung’s share of the smartphone market grew 140 percent in the first quarter of 2012, over the prior year, to reach 24 percent. Apple continues to lead smartphone manufacturers in Q1, rising 7 percent in Q1, over the same period last year, to capture 29 percent of the market. During the same period, smartphone models manufactured by LG, HTC, Motorola, and RIM all experienced market-share declines. The following chart shows NPD’s ranking of manufacturers, based on Q1 sales of new smartphones:

Top U.S. Smartphone Manufacturers Q1'12
Apple 29%
Samsung 24%
HTC 15%
Motorola 10%
LG 7%
RIM Blackberry 5%

The rise of the pre-paid market contributed to Samsung’s growth. Part of the rise for pre-paid handsets were smartphones. In the absence of an Apple prepaid option, Android phones accounted for 79 percent of the pre-paid smartphone market in Q1. Four in 10 pre-paid smartphones (38 percent) sold in the U.S. were manufactured by Samsung.

“Samsung is the only market leader from the feature phone era to transition to market leadership in the smartphone era in the U.S.,” said Ross Rubin, executive director, Connected Intelligence for The NPD Group. “Its broad carrier support and advertising – particularly in the ascendant pre-paid segment – have helped it achieve the highest market share among Android handset providers in the U.S.”

Year-over-year Smartphone Sales for Android and Apple Remain Strong

Android’s operating-system (OS) share of the smartphone market in the U.S. regained some ground against Apple in the first quarter (Q1) of 2012 versus the prior quarter. Sales of new smartphones running the Android OS grew 24 percent over the prior quarter to reach 61 percent of the market. Apple’s iOS share fell from 41 percent to 29 percent, which is a quarter-over-quarter decline of 29 percent. Even so, year-over-year smartphone sales for both companies remained strong, representing 90 percent of smartphone sales with Android gaining 20 percent in 2012 and Apple gaining 7 percent.

Based on The NPD Group’s monthly Mobile Phone Track service, the top-selling smartphone operating systems in the U.S. in Q1 were as follows:

  • Android: 61%
  • iOS: 29%
  • RIM: 5%&
  • Windows Phone 7: 2%

While handset models running Android’s operating system continue to own the lion’s share of the U.S. handset market, Apple’s iPhone devices held onto the top three spots in NPD’s overall handset ranking in the first quarter of this year:

  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 4
  • iPhone 3GS
  • Samsung GalaxySII
  • HTC EVO3D

"After some release of pent-up demand from customers adopting the iPhone 4S, coupled with the company's strength in the holiday season, Apple's share fell in the first quarter, as we've often see it do in the quarter following its introduction of a new handset," Rubin said. "Now that the iPhone is available on Sprint, though, the increased carrier coverage has created a higher baseline for Apple's share than we have seen in the past."

Information this press release is from Mobile Phone Track and Smartphone Track, both of which report on the activities of U.S. consumers, age 18 and older, who reported purchasing a mobile phone or smartphone. NPD does not track corporate/enterprise mobile phone purchases.


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The NPD Group, Inc.
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