NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers

NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers

Summary: Apple sold the most smartphones in Q4 2011, but Android might win the race as it is attracting more first-time buyers than iOS, according to NPD research.


Apple was named the best-selling U.S. handset brand during the fourth quarter, according to a new report from the NPD Group.

However, the findings suggest that while iOS has won this battle, Android is really winning the war.

Take a look at the graph below:

Not only do 48 percent of all smartphone buyers own Android smartphones (versus a close 43 percent on iOS), there is a much bigger disparity for first-time smartphone buyers. Android is attracting more than half of them at 57 percent, while Apple is considerably behind at 34 percent.

There are several possible contributing factors here. Ross Rubin, executive director, Connected Intelligence for The NPD Group, explained in the report that Android's "large app selection" is appealing, and he also pointed towards "Android’s support of LTE at Verizon has also made it the exclusive choice for customers who want to take advantage of that carrier’s fastest network."

Another possible reason for Android's success is that there are simply more buying options (i.e. pricing, features, carriers, etc.) provided by Google's OEM partners than the three models offered by Apple (the iPhone 3G, 4, and 4S).

However, that strategy is a double-edged sword. The problem for Android here is its fragmentation situation, and that there is not a single mobile OEM brand (like Apple) that is securing such a majority of the market share.

For the most part, LG and Samsung are the leaders here -- Samsung doing particularly well as it secured the top spot in the global smartphone market share in 2011 and continued its lead in the U.S. (according to comScore) through December.

Nevertheless, while both Apple and Google have smartphone market successes to celebrate here, it really depends on how you want to look at the situation. Apple's sales are impressive considering how few smartphones they offer and only release a new model each year, while Android controls the majority of the spectrum with many different OEM players rather than just one.

Chart via NPD Group


Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones

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  • RE: NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers

  • What about 2nd time smartphone shoppers?

    95% buy iPhones.
    • RE: NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers

      @toddybottom_z That must be why Android global market share is 52% while Apple's 17%... it's because 95% buy the ijunk... too funny...
      • You should check your numbers

        @larryvand They are no where near reality.
    • RE: NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers

      @toddybottom_z Guess I'm in that 5%. :-)
      • RE: NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers

        @ComputerDinosaur I guess my wife and I are in that 5% as well. I was an Apple customer, when they were an open platform.
    • RE: NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers

      Don't let a little thing like facts get in the way of your statements. :)
      • RE: NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers


        He doesn't.
    • RE: NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers

      @toddybottom_z and 5% defect. Look ahead, old chap, look ahead ...
  • iPhone business last quarter larger that *all Microsoft*

    ZDNet been a little slow to cover this one today.

    Apple's iPhone business is now bigger than whole of Microsoft

    iPhone division now bigger than Xbox, Windows and Office put together
    Apple phone division now generates $24.4 billion

    Apple's iPhone business is now bigger than the whole of Microsoft, according to recent revenue figures.

    The company's smartphone division generated $24.4 billion of revenue in the quarter up until December, whereas the whole of Microsoft generated $20.9 billion in the same quarter.

    That includes entertainment devices such as Xbox, as well as Windows, Microsoft Office and Windows Phone.

    Microsoft's figures were a record for the company, a five per cent increase on the previous year's revenue.

    Even so, the figures were dwarfed by Apple's.

    It sold 37.04 million iPhones - its flagship product - and 15.43 million iPads in the quarter up until December, doubling from a year earlier.

    Apple's hoard of cash now stands at $100bn - which could be enough to buy Facebook outright.

    Apple only overtook Microsoft's market capitalisation in May 2010 - the first time the company had been ahead of its rival computer company since 1989.

    Apple overtook Exxon to become the world's number one company in terms of market cap in August 2011.

    Bussiness Insider, which highlighted the figures, said, 'The iPhone did not exist five years ago.'

    'Now it's bigger than a company that, 15 years ago, was dragged into court and threatened with forcible break-up because it had amassed an unassailable and unthinkable profitable monopoly.'
    • Good information

      Makes anyone who writes "M$" look extremely foolish. If MS is M$, Apple is $$$$$.

      Thanks HollywoodDog. It is important that people realize Apple is not a victim in any sense of the word. They are an 8,000lb gorilla in the market. They are strong. They are ruthless. And any who have stood up to Apple have been absolutely slaughtered.
      • RE: NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers

        @toddybottom_z M$ is M$ because of their obsession, not their value. Apple is obsessed with "I" :)
    • RE: NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers

      @HollywoodDog Yeah, they've been slow covering this one as well...
      • did you see this: HTC says Apple was right will now Copy Apple

        @Peter Perry <br><br>Electronista on HTC's conference call on its sales problems:<br><br>"HTC during a call discussing its low forecast and results backtracked from the strategy that dictated 2011. CFO Winston Yung acknowledged a lukewarm reception for fall devices but added that the company's philosophy throughout all of last year, where it was willing to make thick, short-lived devices for the sake of having 4G, was a mistake. The "next product cycle" of devices would fix this .... HTC's about-face indirectly validates Apple's hesitance to jump into 4G early. It argued that an LTE iPhone in 2011 would have required too many sacrifices. While at the time many considered this a mistake that would let Android get the lead, it has so far proven to be no deterrent to Apple's sales. Verizon sold nearly twice as many iPhones as its entire 4G roster combined, leaving any one LTE Android manufacturer with just a fraction of the demand."<br><br><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br><br><br>Apple is usaully right and their smart careful strategies will win in the end.
      • RE: NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers

        @Peter Perry <br><br>i read through your link , also the Forbes analysis of it and Crittercisms site:<br><br>some points:<br><br>1) they don't mention what apps uses their services. their data set is for 200 million app launches from Billions of app downloads. very small and select number of apps<br><br>2) interesting data point: even Crittercism says there are 3 times more iOS app launches than Android (which is interesting by itself as it shows android market share doesn't do much for app purchasing). the data normalized for percentage of users shows that there is less than 1% difference, most quartiles closer to 0.5 in number of crashes between the two OS' (wow iOS is doomed)<br><br>3) Crittercism's data doesn't show that if app developers because they sell more on iOS whether they launch on iOS FIRST (which is the data from other sources) -- if that is the case if the launch first on Ios obviously there's going to be more bugs in the first versions.

        this is what one commentator said
        " think defining a crash makes all the difference. When I used Android and it crashed, it CRASHED ??? the phone froze on whatever screen and became a ligthed paperweight until I pulled the battery and started over. When my iPhone crashes, the only thing that happens is that the app I was using closes suddenly, and that???s it. I won???t argue that iOS crashes more often, but with iOS its much less tiresome and annoying, because while an occasional app may crash, the phone never does, while android does that quite often"

        this is what the reporter replied " That???s a good point, there???s a difference between the app crashing, and the app plus the entire OS crashing as well. That is not broken out in these numbers but is something I can ask Crittercism."
      • RE: NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers

        @Peter Perry Guess I am lucky then. My iPhone has never crashed and when I had one my androids always did.
      • RE: NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers


        You are one in a [s]million[/s] zillion lucky you!

        Google [b]iOS crash[/b]
        About 50,900,000 results (0.28 seconds)

        Google [b]Android crash[/b]
        About 43,200,000 results (0.25 seconds)

        Yet there are a lot more Android phones out there than there are iOS devices...

        Statistically speaking, one should normalize to the lowest common denominator, if you can understand rudimentary maths?

        To be fair, both my iOS and Android devices have crashed on me on rare occasions... I guess I'm not lucky as you are?

        I hope you are not claiming iOS is crash proof?

        It is impossible to make anything foolproof, because fools are so ingenious
        ~ Anonymous

        It is impossible to make people understand their ignorance; for it requires knowledge to perceive it and therefore he that can perceive it hath it not.
        ~ Jeremy Taylor (1613 - 1667)

        Nothing is worse than active ignorance.
        ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
    • RE: NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers

      @HollywoodDog That is because in terms of a self-contained business model, Apple has THE business model to emulate. It has successfully married the device to its OS, and both of those to apps and content. All well and good.

      For me, that's not enough freedom. I want to own my cell phone. I do not want owned by my cell phone. When driving my car, I do not seek out toll gates. When filing my tax return, I do not fabricate tax due from whole cloth. Likewise, I do not care to surrender to RIP Jobs every dollar of cellular spend I have available.
      • How much 'cellular spend' do you have available?

        @TaxNerd ... a quick scan on the shopping sites shows a lot of Samsung phones at between 160 and 600 dollars.

        Below is the breakdown of the iPhone 4s Price in USA:

        16GB for $199
        32GB for $299
        64GB for $399, with a two-year contract. And the iPhone 4 will drop to $99.

        Assuming the service plans are a wash, what's the big difference in price?

        Suppose you shopped around and found a carrier willing to give you an older version, lower power Android for free with a service contract. That'll save you $100 to $200 dollars.

        Are you, Tax Nerd, that strapped for cash that one or two hundred dollars are over the line on your 'cellular spend'?

        If so maybe you need to forego a phone altogether.
      • RE: NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers


        It's not a matter of money. It's a matter of freedom of choice. How would you like it if there was only one General Store in the Universe?

        Well, come to think of it, some of you would probably like it...

        But I personally refuse to participate in an artificial captive-market ecosystem, designed to entrap and rip-off its victims.

        Proof? Just look at huge the profits made solely on the back of Apple's patrons... And how is that supposed to be a good thing for the consumers? Investors are another matter altogether.

        Stockholm syndrome much? Or do you prefer cognitive dissonance? How about buyer's remorse?

        I suppose sane people actually prefer paying more for less? Less what?
        1) technology hence quality
        2) freedom of choice
        3) functionality
        4) speed like 4G/LTE

        Oh but that's right, specs are useless to some who can't appreciate what specs are for.

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