Android rules US smartphone sales in early 2013, Verizon prevails in carrier battle

by: AdrianApril 1, 2013


There’s no slowing down the Android juggernaut, no matter the number of the opposing forces (or the magnitude of their efforts), which is once again proven by data released earlier today by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Kantar’s report, compiled after interviews with hundreds of thousands of mobile phone users in the US, shows a 5.8% increase in Android smartphone sales over the last year. Our favorite OS’ market share sits at a comfortable 51.2% right now, compared with 45.4% back in February 2012.

The numbers are based solely on sales conducted in the three-month period between December 1, 2012 and February 28, 2013, so the actual market share figures for active devices could be and probably are significantly different.

Unlike the three months leading to February 2012, Android dominated iOS in sales (51.2% vs. 43.5%, compared with 45.4% vs. 47%). Call us fanboys, but we have to celebrate this turning of the tables considering the US has always been favorable ground for Apple and because the iPhone 5 is a lot newer than the Samsung Galaxy S3. Because of these two reasons, it would be reasonable to think that iOS sales are still stronger than Android. But it’s not the case, if the data is to believed.

smartphone sales

The distant number three in smartphone sales is Windows, whose 4.1% share is up 1.4 points compared with last year. RIM (or BlackBerry) is close to not being even a blip on the radar anymore, with 0.7%, while Symbian is fortunate to hold a 0.1% share.

Naturally, Samsung is the Android leader, although for some reason Kantar hasn’t published the exact sales numbers by phone manufacturer. Instead, we know that 52% of Sammy buyers over the last year have chosen the GS3, 21% have gone for an S2, while only 5% have picked the Note 2.

The market research firm’s latest survey sheds some light on another ongoing high-stakes battle – that of carrier supremacy. Verizon continues to hold the top spot here, with one in three smartphones sold in America between December 2012 and February 2013 activated on Big Red.

smartphone sales-2

That’s a 35% share, down 1.1%, but enough to keep AT&T (26.7%) at bay. The bronze medalist, Sprint, has managed to boost sales year-on-year with over two points (15%, compared with 12.9%), while T-Mobile has seen a more timid 0.5% increase (9.8%, from 9.3%).

It’s important to keep these numbers in the back of our minds for the next few months, because market shares could be considerably shaken up by T-Mobile’s new “Uncarrier” strategy. Or will they?

In any case, let’s give Android and Samsung (okay, Verizon, too) a big round of applause they deserve for the grip they continue to hold over the competition. Whether you like it or not, they’re the big kahunas and they deserve the laurels to go with it.

Any thoughts, dear reader? Going prepaid? Staying with one of the big three? Samsung vs everyone vs Apple? Sound off below!

  • vampyren

    I’m really not surprised, sure iOS is great and for some people its the best alternative (my parents) but after having tried both iPhone5 and GSIII side by side i’m more and more attracted to Android for the simple reason that you can do allot more with it. Its not that i need all the new stuff but just to be able to do the things like file browsing is a nice feeling. One area where iOS kicks Androids ass is the browser so i really hope Google can turn this around, i have tested 5 browsers and only Chrome is somewhat close to the Safari standards but its not perfect still. Beside that i just love everything else and specially the SD card on my S3.
    Come to think of it another area where Google could improve is the options menus. Its a mess in comparison to iOS and actually i dont like the fact that i cant individually select what program get to access my GPS or send me notification. This is also another area where iOS is better.

    But the list of Android features that i cant do in iOS is longer :)

    • MasterMuffin

      What? Safari is bad and it’s the only browser that you can get for iOs, because all browsers in App Store are just skinned Safaris because Apple doesn’t allow building own browsers for iOs. And you can (in 4.1 and up) do that notification thing you are talking about. And with all mighty rooting you can do that GPS thing too :)

      • How can you stop notification in whatsapp, i have s2 jb 4.1.2 still havent figured out.

        • MasterMuffin

          Settings/application manager/whatsapp
          Disable “show notifications”

      • kascollet

        Safari is really fast (like “the fastest mobile browser yet”), renders full pages like a champ and syncs bookmarks and opened tabs across devices. What else would you want ?
        Seriously, browsing is really a pro for iOS.

        • MasterMuffin

          Not fastest, even default android browser syncs bookmarks, I can’t understand why would anyone need that tab sync. Incognito would be nice for example and the possibility to clear history/cookies/stuff inside the app NOT from settings/safari

          • kascollet

            Tab sync is very useful when you have multiple device (phones + tablets + computers). Whatever the device you pick up, you can resume your reading. Searching in a page an full screen are limited and tricky to find, but do exist.

          • MasterMuffin

            Limited and tricky to find? Pressing the menu button to get the searching is pretty hard I agree (sarcasm) and if I want full screen, menu/settings/labs/full screen………….
            I (personally) still don’t find tab sync useful or needed feature

          • kascollet

            I was talking about the iPad !
            Features are useless… until you find a use for them.

          • MasterMuffin

            I was talking about the iPad too, your point?

          • kascollet

            You can search inside a page on the iPad (if I understood correctly, you said otherwise).

          • MasterMuffin

            As I asked, where, I’ve searched for it like a maniac o.O

          • kascollet

            Just tap the search field (with a page already loaded) and you’ll see another one above this keyboard.

          • MasterMuffin

            Thaanks, there have been many times I would have needed that but I just simply couldn’t find it, so I thought it doesn’t exist >. < other points remain

      • vampyren

        Thanks for the tips on notification, this will come handy on some apps. I dont like to root since i wont get push updates from samsung though.
        On Safari its not only the speed but there are tons of page formatting, selecting text, links, being able to use different online forms that sometimes dont work well on Android is what makes me frustrated. These have improved substantially but still not as good as Safari really. And as someone said i rather have one perfect browser than 10 where each work somewhat ok. For instance Dolphin is fast but the page formatting is crap. And to be honest i dont care about Flash since it eats battery like crazy even on my laptop and now days most pages work pretty well even without Flash (HTML5 maybe).
        Damn cant wait until i get my hand on a S4 to compare with my S3 :D i’m such a Samsung fan now hehe

  • Marsg

    IOS users claim android users, but they are just as consumer conscious, that’s why the cheaper iPhone 4 and 4s are.dominating sales, and that’s also the reason why iPhone sales grew during the holiday season which saw a lot of discounts, now in the aftermath iPhone shares dropped back down a whopping 9%

  • Thats Funny, and wrong ? At&T, Verizon and Sprint have all published their Q2 sales number in US. So how come u Guys Can overturn that completely? Oh and another thing I can’t understand,,,, with all the estimated sale of Android, how come IOS dominate the WEB traffic ?

    • sggodsell

      Its because android’s users probably use privacy mode more than iOS users. Not to mention there is more browsers on android than iOS.

  • Jusephe

    That’s nice that android has little more smartphone marketshare. But Apple is still the most selling brand in the US in both phone and smartphone, dethroning samsung (wich was the most selling phone brand in US since 2008) and holding its place for second quarter in a row with one 7 months old phone, one year and half old phone, and one almost three years old phone and its still only on three of the four main carries in the US.