iPhone 6s sales chugging along in US - but ​Android bounces back in Europe

While the latest figures show Android is gaining market share in the US and Europe, iOS is on the rise in China.

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Sales by smartphone operating system in the three months to October 2015.

Image: Kantar Worldpanel ComTech

The iPhone 6s accounted for 24 percent of all iPhone sales in the US, as Android bounced back to growth in Europe.

Apple's iPhone 6s may have been an incremental upgrade from a technical standpoint, but the sales of the device as a percent of the iPhone total seem fairly consistent with other new releases and should ramp up in coming months, according to figures from Kantar Worldpanel Comtech.

Overall, iOS accounted for 34 percent of US handset sales, down from 42 percent a year ago, a period in which Android grew from 53 percent to 63 percent and Windows Phone fell from 3.7 percent to 2.7 percent. The figures cover the three months ending in October.

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The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus launched in September, so this is the first report from the market research firm that includes a full month's sales.

Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at the Kantar Worldpanel Comtech, noted that while Apple's share in the US was down overall, sales of its latest hardware is on par with previous year's models.

The iPhone 6s accounted for 24.4 percent of all iPhone sales in the period. The iPhone 6, a bigger upgrade than the 6s represented, accounted for 33 percent of iPhone sales in 2014, while the iPhone 5s was 22 percent in 2013. Sales of the iPhone 6 Plus were 10.8 percent, basically the same as the iPhone 6 Plus achieved in 2014.

Samsung remains the top brand in the US and, according to Milanesi, it was the first time this year it showed year-on-year growth.

Meanwhile, the year-long decline of Android handset sales in Europe may be over, with the platform posting a 1.6 percentage point gain to a 70.9 percent share sales, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. The figure covers Europe's top five markets, including UK, Germany, Spain, France, and Italy.

Meanwhile, sales of iOS and Windows Phone each declined 0.6 percentage points to 20 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively. The three months marks the first time iOS has registered a decline since August 2014 in Europe, according to the research firm.

Mate-series smartphone maker Huawei proved to be particularly strong in Italy and Spain while Samsung dominated in France, Milanesi said.

Italy has been the strongest market in Europe for Windows Phone. However its share of sales has eroded from 13.8 percent in the same period last year to 11.3 percent in the current period. Windows Phone share remained flat year on year in the other four EU markets.

Analysts hold out little hope of Microsoft's mobile efforts coming to much. IDC estimated Microsoft's shipments this year of 31.4 million Windows Phone devices would leave it with a 2.7 percent share, which it predicted would rise to 2.8 percent by 2019.

As would-be alternatives such as Mozilla's Firefox OS and Jolla's Sailfish OS drop out of the game, with the exception of BlackBerry, Microsoft alone faces the conundrum of attracting consumers to a platform lacking in support from app developers and hardware partners.

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