iOS posts holiday gains while Android, BlackBerry and Microsoft decline

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According to the latest figures from comScore, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) managed to increase its smartphone market share in the United States during the October-January holiday buying rush. The firm said Apple's share of the market increased 3.5 percent during the period, from 34.3 percent in October to 37.8 percent in January. The figures are notable considering Android, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) all lost sharing during the same period.

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Click here to see the changes in smartphone OS market shares since 2009.

The 2012 holiday shopping season was critical for a number of companies. The period reflected the introduction of Apple's iPhone 5 as well as high-powered holiday smartphones from Android vendors including LG and others. Further, Microsoft launched its new Windows Phone 8 platform during the holidays through handsets including the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC 8X. Thus, comScore's figures help highlight which of those offerings caught fire during the holiday season.

However, comScore's numbers do require several caveats. The firm surveys current smartphone ownership, so its numbers are a reflection of what smartphones Americans are currently carrying. Thus, Microsoft's market share likely includes people who own Windows Mobile phones as well as those who own its new Windows Phone.

According to comScore's numbers, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android ranked as the nation's top smartphone platform with 52.3 percent market share in January, falling 1.3 percent from the 53.6 percent Android commanded in October. BlackBerry ranked third with 5.9 percent share (down 1.9 percent during the three-month period), followed by Microsoft at 3.1 percent (down 0.1 percent) and Symbian at 0.5 percent (down 0.1 percent).

As for smartphone manufacturers, comScore said Samsung accounted for 21.4 percent of the market in January behind Apple. HTC and Google's Motorola both lost share during the period, while LG managed its increase its share of the market by just 0.3 percent.

Interestingly, comScore also published research on the characteristics of iOS and Android owners. The firm said iOS is slightly more popular among a slightly younger demographic than Android users, with 18-24 year olds representing 19 percent of all iPhone owners compared to 16 percent of Android owners. The firm also said iPhone owners are slightly more willing to spend money via their phones, with 23 percent having done so vs. 17 percent of Android owners.

The figures from comScore, which tabulate the U.S. market, are generally parallel to those for the global market. According to IDC, Android ended 2012 with an international smartphone market share of 68.8 percent, surging from 49.2 percent a year ago. IDC said Apple shipped 135.9 million iPhones in 2012, translating to a market share of 18.8 percent, identical to what the company commanded in 2011. 

For more:
- see this comScore report
- see this separate comScore report
- see this PCMag article
- see this Next Web article

Related Articles:
Facebook usurps Google Maps as top app in U.S.
Giving the gift of wireless: The 2012 guide to holiday smartphones from Tier 1 U.S. operators
IDC: Android, iOS shatter 90% worldwide smartphone share in Q4
Canalys: Android powers one-third of all phones shipped in Q4
comScore: Windows Phone U.S. market share declines to 2.9%

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