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Apple overtakes Android in the US

For the first time since 2012, iOS is the most popular smartphone and tablet operating system in the iPhone's homeland and it's also gaining in Europe and China.

gadgets Updated: Feb 05, 2015 11:18 IST

For the first time since 2012, iOS is the most popular smartphone and tablet operating system in the iPhone's homeland and it's also gaining in Europe and China.

However, according to the latest figures from Kantar Wordpanel ComTech, which cover the final quarter of 2014, the lead was tiny.

The iPhone 6 may well have been the most popular smartphone in terms of sales throughout the US holiday season but despite record-breaking sales, not just in the US but around the globe, Apple's lead over Android was just 0.1%. Apple accounted for 47.4% of all smartphones sold in December in the US and Android for 47.6%.

"While the success of the iPhone 6 and 6Plus is unprecedented, this quarter's performance also points to Apple having its strongest portfolio ever. With a range of devices available at different price points in both contract and pre-pay Apple was able to take advantage of a weaker Android offering at the premium end of the market," said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Apple's gains at Android's expense weren't limited to its homeland. Across the five major European countries Android saw it share fall by 3.8 percentage points and iOS climb 6.2 percentage points year-on-year with the UK giving the iPhone its biggest push. British consumer demand for the Apple device saw iOS market share jump by 13.3 percentage points.

"Italy was the only European market where Android grew," said Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe. "Considering the strong pre-pay market and the wider direct channel it is not a surprise that Android products -- with their value for money proposition -- continue to appeal to Italian consumers."

China also proved to be a fertile ground. Nearly one in four Chinese consumers to have snapped up an iPhone over the last quarter of 2014 were buying their very first smartphone of any description.

"In Urban China, Apple iOS grew share year-on-year at the expense of Android," explained Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia. "While Xiaomi remained the bestselling brand in the latest period, Apple was able to close the gap slightly, growing its share to 21.5% from 19% last year."