Apple’s new iPhone is the best selling smartphone

When they can, the people vote iPhone

Apple, iOS, iPhone, smartphone, Samsung, Android
Credit: Apple

In yet more proof of the disconnect between the Android-loving media and the iPhone-loving public, the latest data claims Apple’s new iPhone 7 models are the best selling smartphones in both the US and UK.

The return of the iOS star

Data published today shows a 5.2% percentage point US market share increase for iOS during the third quarter of 2016 to 34.2%. While it remains dominant, Android share declined to 63.4% in the US.

In the UK, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were September’s biggest-selling devices, accounting for 15.1% of sales. iOS accounted for 40.6% of smartphone sales, up 2.4 percentage points from a year ago. The iPhone SE is very popular in the UK, where it accounts for 8.5 percent of sales. In the US, it delivers just 3.5 percent.

“In the US, the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models made an immediate impact, becoming the best-selling smartphones in the month of September at 17.1%,” said Lauren Guenveur, Consumer Insight Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech in a statement.

The data confirms the iPhone 6S remains the second best-selling device in the US in September. That’s interesting as 47 percent of iPhone users who purchased a new smartphone this year cite screen size as the main reason for their purchase. The Apple smartphone’s excellent camera technologies also drove sales, Patently Apple notes.

Europe and China remain weak

It’s not all great news. iOS market share posted two significant declines, in Germany from 17.5% to 15% and in Urban China from 18.7% to 14.2%. The Oppo R9 has become the biggest-selling smartphone there.

“iOS posted yet another year-on-year decline to 14.2% of smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2016,” said Tamsin Timpson, Strategic Insight Director. She sees some signals of recovery for Apple’s fortunes there. “Importantly, this marks a period-on-period return to growth in sales, up from 13.5% in the three months ending in August.

Signs of recovery

“With supply constrained on the iPhone 7, and particularly the 7 Plus, this positive turn for Apple is a good sign, suggesting that as supply grows to meet demand, Apple will be able to turn the tide in Urban China.”

It seems clear the last quarter’s seeming decline in Apple’s fortunes in China reflected the traditional pre-iPhone release slump we see each year. However, lack of new Macs and little movement across the company’s other hardware products combined with that slump to create a relatively week quarter, though expectations were, as usual, surpassed.

Sayonara, Samsung

Samsung’s decline continues as it faces the backlash of its exploding smartphones. The company posted a year-on-year decline from 36.9% to 33.8% of US smartphone sales in the third quarter, and is expected to struggle in the crucial holiday sales season.

That’s really quite likely, given the company’s other products continue to generate problems, it’s too early to tell how this will impact long-term consumer trust in the brand. Even today, Apple suffers the tarnish of the Maps debacle, this will surely be far worse for a company that created life-threatening devices.

Samsung also suffered in Europe. While it accounted for 30.4 percent of smartphone sales in the UK on strength of carrier discount deals, its fortunes everywhere else on the continent weren’t so great. Huawei knocked it aside in Italy, for example.

Happy holidays

What makes the Android versus iPhone marketshare comparisons so meaningless is that while Apple has built a sustainable and profitable business on iPhone sales, competitors have failed to achieve anything like that. Google, meanwhile, is about to consume the market it helped create.

It seems clear that the smoke signals suggest iPhone and MacBook Pro will buoy company fortunes in the current quarter. Coming up next year? Presumably new desktop Macs potentially equipped for VR experience creation; and, of course, the next-generation iPad Pro. Apple’s decision to make refurbished iPhones available for sale via its online channels is also likely to be attractive to consumers, particularly in the event the company does not intend upgrading its still popular iPhone SE.

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