iPhone 5 sales vaults Apple into first place over Android in the U.S. for smartphone market share

Strong sales for Apple’s iPhone 5 in the past 12 weeks has vaulted the iPhone suite of phones back to the No. 1 spot in the smartphone market share in the U.S., according to a data report from market research company Kantar Worldpanel.

iPhone handsets grabbed a 48.1 percent share of U.S. smartphone sales versus 46.7 percent for Android smartphones. 62 percent of those iPhone 5 sales were by existing iPhone owners upgrading their older handsets to the 5. That leaves 38 percent of iPhone sales coming from new customers.

Kantar Worldpanel consumer insight director Dominic Sunnebo said the last time the consumer knowledge and insights company saw iOS smartphones overtake Google’s in the U.S. was when the iPhone 4S launched and held the lead for three consecutive periods. Sunnebo added that Kantar Worldpanel predicts that Apple will beat its previous market share high of 49.3 percent and achieve a higher mark within the next two quarters.

Europe, on the other hand, still sees Android with a 73.9 percent marketshare in Germany and 81.7 percent in Spain. Although Apple smartphone shares are rising in four of the five major European countries, with Britain leading the way at a 32.7 percent share for Apple handsets.

Interestingly, Sunnebo added, Italy displays strong sales for Windows Phone handsets, with an 11.7 percent market share thanks to handsets such as the Nokia Lumia 610 and 800.

Laslty, Sunnebo commented that 92 percent of existing Apple owners in the U.S. said they will stick with an Apple handset the next time they upgrade.

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