iOS continues to lead as the top selling smartphone platform sold in the U.S., with 51.2% of market sales for the 12 week period ending December 23rd, 2012, according to data released today by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Android is in second place with 44.2%, while Windows remained a very distant third with 2.6% of smartphones sold in the U.S. during the period.

Top carrier rankings remain consistent this period, with AT&T Mobility continuing to maintain its lead with 33.3% of smartphones sold in this 12 week period. AT&T has declined slightly, reducing the gap with Verizon Wireless whose share remains stable with 32% of smartphones sold. Sprint remains one of the key carriers offering Apple but is seeing little increase in sales share, as the brand continues to decline this period in third place with 14.8% of smartphone sales.

The data is derived from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech USA’s consumer panel, which is the largest continuous consumer research mobile phone panel of its kind in the world, conducting more than 250,000 interviews per year in the U.S. alone. ComTech tracks mobile phone behavior and the customer journey, including purchasing of phones, mobile phone bills/airtime, and source of purchase and phone usage. This data is exclusively focused on the sales within this 12 week period rather than market share figures. Sales shares exemplify more forward focused trends and should represent the market share for these brands in future.

In a statement, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech analyst Mary-Ann Parlato said, “Apple’s continual improvement is thanks to both the iPhone 5 and older models attracting various customer groups, from repeat Apple buyers, first time smartphone buyers and those coming from other smartphone brands. In particular, 36% of iOS sales were derived from other smartphone users over the last year. While this figure remains stable over time, the proportion of Android users moving towards the Apple brand increases. 19% of iOS sales over the last year were derived from Android users, compared to 9% in 2011.”

This trend is most evident within Verizon Wireless where half (49%) of iOS sales were derived from users of other smartphone brands, and 30% were derived from Android. These figures are much higher compared to AT&T Mobility where 15% of iPhone purchasers came from other smartphone users (6% from Android).

While for other customer groups, 35% of iOS sales were those upgrading from a previous iPhone and 30% were those upgrading to their first smartphone.

AT&T Mobility continued to utilize their large Apple base with 55% of their iOS sales stemming from these users upgrading to a newer iPhone while 37% of Verizon Wireless’ iOS sales were derived from their large featurephone base.

Source: Kantar Worldpanel ComTech

MacDailyNews Take: Some might mistakenly settle for a pretend iPhone their first time around, but, if they’re smart enough, they won’t ever settle for a knockoff again.

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