Samsung leads the U.S. smartphone market with Apple close on its heels

by: Varun RajJanuary 3, 2013

apple vs samsung

In spite of the recent spat and the expensive $1.05 billion court case that went in Apple’s favor in the U.S., the iPhone maker is still trailing behind Samsung in mobile sales in the country.

Following behind these two behemoths are the others like HTC, Motorola, and LG who are all lagging with decreased sales. There is a similar situation in the platform area as well. Android is the most preferred operating system with iOS reluctantly settling for the second place. Others like Symbian and Windows Phone are still poor contenders struggling to maintain their positions, though losing steadily.


Smartphones now make up for 53% of the handsets used by mobile phone users in the U.S. That is a gain of 6% from August 2012 and represents 123.3 million Americans who use a smartphone. Data culled by comScore from over 30,000 mobile users shows that Samsung still lead the pack last quarter with an impressive 26.9% share indicating an increase of 1.2% since August.

Although Apple’s increase in percentage is higher by 1.4 points, the market share is way behind at just 18.5% as compared to Samsung. LG is breathing down Apple’s neck with a 17.5%, which is a decrease of 0.7% since August. Motorola and HTC still show a declining trend with 10.4 and 5.9% market share respectively.  This clearly shows that Samsung and Apple seem to have the upper hand and intend on maintaining their duopoly. Apple’s iPhone 5 is still helping it inch ahead of LG and maintain that position firmly, with Google’s Nexus 4 assisting LG gain ground steadily.


In the smartphone platform market share, Google may not have made its mark with the Nexus 4, but it seems to have made up on the software front. It leads the top 5 with a lion’s share of 53.7% of total smartphone subscribers, though the increase is just 1.1%. Apple could manage the second position with its share at 35% of the market with an increase of 0.7% since August. RIM, Microsoft, and Symbian were trailing behind with negligible shares of 7.3%, 3%, and 0.5% respectively and declining steadily.

Although Apple is offering stiff competition to Samsung, Android is still leading the pack and keeping well ahead of iOS. No other OEM seems to be anywhere close to the top 5 slot with existing players finding it difficult to maintain the pace.

How long do you think there will be significant market consolidation in the space leaving only Samsung and Apple to battle it out?

Show Press Release

comScore Reports November 2012 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share

Samsung and Apple Continue to Seize Share in OEM Market

RESTON, VA, January 3, 2013– comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released data from the comScore MobiLens service, reporting key trends in the U.S. mobile phone industry during the three month average period ending November 2012. The study surveyed more than 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers and found Samsung to be the top handset manufacturer overall with 26.9 percent market share. Google Android continued to lead among smartphone platforms, accounting for 53.7 percent of smartphone subscribers, while Apple secured 35 percent.

OEM Market Share

For the three-month average period ending in November, device manufacturer Samsung ranked as the top OEM with 26.9 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers (up 1.2 percentage points). Apple ranked second with 18.5 percent market share (up 1.4 percentage points), followed by LG with 17.5 percent share, Motorola with 10.4 percent and HTC with 5.9 percent.

Top Mobile OEMs
3 Month Avg. Ending Nov. 2012 vs. 3 Month Ending Aug. 2012
Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers (Smartphone & Non-Smartphone) Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Aug-12Nov-12Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers100.0%100.0%N/A

Smartphone Platform Market Share

123.3 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (53 percent mobile market penetration) during the three months ending in November, up 6 percent since August. Google Android ranked as the top smartphone platform with 53.7 percent market share (up 1.1 percentage points), while Apple’s share increased 0.7 percentage points to 35 percent. RIM ranked third with 7.3 percent share, followed by Microsoft (3 percent) and Symbian (0.5 percent).

Top Smartphone Platforms
3 Month Avg. Ending Nov. 2012 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Aug. 2012
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers
Aug-12Nov-12Point Change
Total Smartphone Subscribers100.0%100.0%N/A

Mobile Content Usage

In November, 75.9 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device (up 0.3 percentage points). Downloaded applications were used by 54.2 percent of subscribers (up 0.8 percentage points), while browsers were used by 52.1 percent (up 0.1 percentage points). Accessing of social networking sites or blogs increased 0.9 percentage points to 39.2 percent of mobile subscribers. Game-playing was done by 33.7 percent of the mobile audience, while 28.7 percent listened to music on their phones (up 0.4 percentage points).

Mobile Content Usage
3 Month Avg. Ending Nov. 2012 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Aug. 2012
Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers (Smartphone & Non-Smartphone) Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Aug-12Nov-12Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers100.0%100.0%N/A
Sent text message to another phone75.6%75.9%0.3
Used downloaded apps53.4%54.2%0.8
Used browser52.0%52.1%0.1
Accessed social networking site or blog38.3%39.2%0.9
Played Games34.0%33.7%-0.3
Listened to music on mobile phone28.3%28.7%0.4

About MobiLens
MobiLens data is derived from an intelligent online survey of a nationally representative sample of mobile subscribers age 13 and older. Data on mobile phone usage refers to a respondent’s primary mobile phone and does not include data related to a respondent’s secondary device.

About comScore
comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital business analytics. For more information, please visit

  • Close on its heels??? more like leagues ahead of Apple. 8% is a lot considering all that Samsung has gone through with apple and how Samsung really hadn’t really made a significant impact on the smartphone market until the release of the Galaxy S.

    • Adam Eldin

      but apple is gaining!! I am rooting for HTC to overtake LG and Moto and Sammy to take a chunk out of Apple

  • Darktanone

    The effort it takes to stay ahead of Apple seem unsustainable and eventually they will catch up and even pass Google. Already the other Android partners are being squeezed as Apple continues to increase its share of mobile profits. With a 75% share, not even Samsung with its greater market share is close. To me, this lead in market share is meaningless if it doesn’t follow with greater profits.

    • Apple

      Catch me if u can Isheep

    • casinrm

      Samsung profits are way way up. I wouldn’t be calling the funeral company just yet.

      • Darktanone

        Their profits are up because they are eating other Android device makers lunch. With over 1 million activations per day, hundreds of millions of devices sold, dozens of manufacturing partners, hundreds of devices available and from all of that, only one of those manufacturers is making a profit. To me that says Android is only good for Google and a losing proposition for its partners.

        • Adam Eldin

          google does not give a flying fuck, they lose money making android, they open sourced it and then let it run free… this is capitalism my friend

  • Appledroid

    I know tis will happened sooner or later…im the user for both Android n IOS ..Common sense who wun to play angry bird game on an apple small screen which u have choice to pick up a bigger screen..Stubborn Apple made him behind of his rival.I hope Steve Job is here!!!!