A new research note reveals that Apple’s iPhone 5 sales helped the company overtake Google when it comes to smartphone OS marketshare in the U.S., for the 12-week period ending on October 28, 2012.

What’s strange about this analysis is that it’s looking, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, at the August 6 – October 28, 2012 period and the new iPhone was officially launched on September 21. So the iPhone 5 was actually on sale for over 5 weeks during that 12-week period.

The smartphone sales analysis provided by KWC  says that strong iPhone 5 sales put iOS back on the number one spot in America, with 48.1% share of U.S. smartphone sales. Comparatively Google’s Android share for the period was at 46.7% for the same period. The company predicts a continued momentum for the iPhone 5, not that we’re surprised to hear that from analysts, considering that we’re in the Christmas quarter, which is likely going to be Apple’s best quarter to date, with iPhone 5 being one of the best-sold devices during the period:

“The last time we saw iOS overtake Android in the US was when the iPhone 4S was released and Apple managed to retain its lead for three consecutive periods. This time we predict that Apple will beat its previous high of 49.3% and achieve its highest ever share of the US smartphone market within the next two periods.”

Furthermore, Apple is seeing share gains in “four of the five major European countries,” although Android was still king in Europe for the same 12-week period. The research reveals that in countries like Germany and Spain Android sales amounted to 73.9% and 81.7% respectively. At the same time iOS was at 32.7% share for the period in the UK, and dropped 5.1% in Germany where the Galaxy S3 accounted for almost 25% of smartphone sales.

The same research reveals that the majority of iPhone 5 buyers in the U.S. are existing iPhone owners. 62% of them have purchased the new iPhone, while 13% of iPhone 5 purchases came from former Android owners. RIM is also losing market share in favor to the iPhone, with 6% of iPhone sales coming from BlackBerry owners.

But does market share really matter that much?

Throughout the year we’re pointed to a variety of research notes from various companies and analysts that are monitoring closely the highly lucrative mobile business. We periodically check out OS market share, profit share and forecast for the coming quarters/years. Add to that the quarterly earnings reports from all the mobile players in the game and you end up with a lot of numbers to crunch.

For Apple, being king of the hill when it comes to market share in the business it’s an active player in is not a must. It certainly helps, but the company is able to make loads of money despite not being the absolute leader in all the niches it has products in – albeit for the iPad, of course.

For Google, market share it’s where the game is at. The company is yet to make any real profits from device sales, although it’s clear that Google does want to sell more and more of its own Android smartphones and tablets. However, the real cash for Google, right now, is in Search. That’s how the giant is able to sustain everything it does, Android included. So having as wide a reach as possible in the mobile universe, which is becoming more and more important for Internet browsing and mobile ads, is very important for Google.

Sure, the fact that the iPhone 5 knocked Android back in second spot in the USA is not troubling considering that, overall, Android is the number one smartphone OS in the world. And Android smartphones are still selling strong, with Google’s latest report saying that it’s now activating 1.3 million units per day.

What about Internet usage?

In addition to market share and financial reports, from time to time we get various notes that look at Internet usage on mobile devices. The last one came in a few days ago from IBM and looked at the mobile devices used to browse through and place Black Friday online orders. That battle was won by Apple, with the iPhone and iPad being the most used devices for such purposes.

And there have been more such studies showing that despite not being the top OS by market share, iOS is a more Internet-friendly environment for users – and by that I mean that more iOS devices are used to browsed the web, not comparing browsing experiences on the two operating systems. With more Android users out there than iOS device owners, one would expect that Android Internet traffic would exceed the traffic generated by iPhones, iPads and iPod touches.

Maybe in addition to focusing on having its latest Android OS version running on various devices as fast as possible after being unveiled, Google should also make sure it markets these devices as Internet-friendly gadgets that can help users get various jobs done via mobile – the Galaxy Note 2 for example can replace to some extent a computer during day-to-day usage, and while not all Android devices out there are as possible, it appears that not all Android owners out there are using them for online-related purposes as one would expect.

Because, again, at the end of the day, Google still needs to make a lot of money from its Search business.

What smartphone did you buy this year?

  • chris125

    That’s because everyone was waiting for all the quad core 1080p screened phones to come out lol /s Oh well android still has strong sales which is a good sign

  • APai

    Why such a big fuss about what device a user uses ? I presume people can be smarter and use the computer / PC to buy things, and not peer through a 4 inch device to buy something. most websites still are optimised for the PC. I Don’t know – but the comfort of browsing through a PC is much faster and much more productive on a PC than on a tablet or a phone.

    • Ya boiii

      Browsing on a PC is definitely more productive, if you sit on your ass all day. For the rest of us on the go, browsing on phones/tablets is much more effective.

      eBay noted that over 2 million new users bought items in 2012.

      Soon enough, the majority of websites will be optimized for mobile browsing — since that’s where the market is going.

      • APai

        “since that’s where the market is going.”

        so everyone’s going to stop using their PCs and twist and turn, struggle through the lousy tiny screens ? 2 million must be a huge number.. something like 10% of all transactions? I’m equally amazed to note that people are SO darn busy! c’mon man, I know we are going towards a mobile age, but we aren’t in such a tearing hurry that we are going to replace the desktop within a year or so!

        I don’t know I must be one of those luddites, who prefers the lazy large screen monitors. the ugly power hogs that are PCs.

        I’ve bought a few thigns through a cell phone, but its like been less than 5% of my transaction. I’m in no hurry to convert that to 95%!

        “Soon enough, the majority of websites will be optimized for mobile browsing ”
        yeah, like how long has that attempt been going on ? there are a few websites that run properly, people still use the full html sites most of the times!

  • SODA

    ownage is funny.

  • Darktanone

    The Internet usage shows why iOS accounts for, roughly, 75% of Google’s mobile profits. It also demonstrates why YouTube and Maps being removed from iOS could have a negative impact on Google’s bottom line.

  • ฺBoonlumsion Piyapon

    48.1% vs 46.7% … after iphone 5 just release. that sound like a problem for ios.

    • observer

      Considering Apple is still scrambling to fill peoples orders I kind of doubt they are worrying.

      • ฺBoonlumsion Piyapon

        In that same time. Google is still scrambling to fill nexus 4 orders too…

  • Adam Outler

    The thing is, many sites report mobile devices under the generic moniker “iPhone”. That’s where the browser numbers come from .

    • observer

      examples and source?