NPD survey: Excluding business sales, RIM has 36%, Android 28%, iPhone 21% in U.S. smartphone share

invisibleSHIELD case for iPadThe Android operating system (OS) continued to shake up the U.S. mobile phone market in the first quarter (Q1) of 2010, moving past Apple to take the number-two position among smartphone operating systems, according to The NPD Group. NPD’s wireless market research reveals that based on unit sales to consumers last quarter the Android operating system moved into second position at 28 percent behind RIM’s OS (36 percent) and ahead of Apple’s OS (21 percent).

“As in the past, carrier distribution and promotion have played a crucial role in determining smartphone market share,” said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD. “In order to compete with the iPhone, Verizon Wireless has expanded its buy-one-get-one offer beyond RIM devices to now include all of their smartphones.”

MacDailyNews Note: To arrive at their U.S. market share percentages, NPD measures unit “sales,” including non-iPhone devices’ “Buy One Get One Free” promotions through Verizon. These NPD sales figures do not include corporate/enterprise mobile phone sales. The NPD Group compiles and analyzes mobile device sales data based on more than 150,000 completed online consumer research surveys each month. According to NPD, the surveys are based on a nationally balanced and demographically-representative sample, and results are projected to represent the entire population of U.S. consumers.

[UPDATE: 2;10pm EDT: We contacted NPD with some questions. Here is their response: “NPD tracks US consumer purchases via surveys, so *all* retailers are covered, including Apple Store brick-and-mortar and online (i.e., it’s consumer-reported data, not from the retailers themselves at the point of sale). Compiled from online surveys sent to over 335,000 people per month from NPD’s online consumer panel. Respondents screened for having acquired a cell phone within the last 30 days. Data balanced, weighted and projected to the represent the U.S. population.”]

According to NPD’s Mobile Phone Track, smartphone sales at AT&T comprised nearly a third of the entire smartphone market (32 percent), followed by Verizon Wireless (30 percent), T-Mobile (17 percent) and Sprint (15 percent).

The continued popularity of messaging phones and smartphones resulted in slightly higher prices for all mobile phones, despite an overall drop in the number of mobile phones purchased in the first quarter. According to NPD, the average selling price for all mobile phones in Q1 reached $88, which is a 5 percent increase from Q1 2009. Smartphone unit prices, by comparison, averaged $151 in Q1 2010, which is a 3 percent decrease over the previous year.

Source: The NPD Group, Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: To recap: NPD’s market share data is based on a survey for which we do not know the margin of error (Our NPD contact is checking on that for us). NPD’s market share percentages do not seem to be based on actual sales data; survey data only. NPD’s survey results include buy-one-get-one-free offers that Verizon has expanded to cover all of their smart phones, for some reason (wink). NPD’s survey results also do not include corporate/enterprise sales. How many iPhones were sold to corporate/enterprise clients vs. RIM and Android and what impact those sales have on the real U.S. smartphone market share numbers remains an open question.

Please compare our headline and article contents with other media outlets covering these NPD figures. Below are four examples:

NPD: Android Tops Apple OS for First Quarter – PC Magazine
• Android demolishing iPhone in sales – Fortune
• WHOA: Google Android Outsells Apple iPhone In The US – San Francisco Chronicle
• Google Android Outsells Apple’s iPhone for 1st Time – The Atlantic

You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank all that high on the truth meter… Some of the craziest claims can quickly claim traction… All of this is not only putting new pressures on you, it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy… We can’t stop these changes, but we can adapt to them. Education can fortify you, as it did earlier generations, to meet the tests of your own time.U.S. President Barack Obama, May 09, 2010


  1. MDN, you forgot to add that NPD doesn’t track sales made directly by Apple from their retail store or website. All the NPD figures show is that Android outsells the iPhone amongst people who buy phones at Best Buy and AT&T;stores.

  2. It’s no big deal.

    I’ve been telling people for a few months not to buy an iPhone yet.

    The new one us right around the corner, and promises to be a huge upgrade.

    I’m sure many others are waiting too.

  3. Apple needs to get the iPhone on other carriers, and like The Confuzed, I have told 2 people to wait for summer to get the new iPhone.

    We’ll have to see what happens come June/July…

  4. MDN, thanks a Whole Lot for inserting the first political comment in this thread. The quote was fine, I guess, until the attribution. I’m amazed we have not been deluged with Right Wing Whackos (not all Right Wingers are Whackos, not all Whackos are on the Right) fomenting about Death Panels, Drill Baby, Drill, Commie Obama the Hitler clone (one extremely silly claim) and all the rest of the lies.
    On Topic: several excellent comments already posted. AAPL gets the cash, I haven’t seen an Android yet (either), NPD survey is fundamentally flawed … all precise.

  5. I knew everyone overreacted to Obama’s statements the other day. It turns out he was right. He’s not talking about censoring anyone. He’s talking about confronting the lies and bringing out the truth.

    This survey and the way it has spread through the media is a perfect example of how mistruths can get out of control. The fact is Apple still sells more iPhones than Google does Android phones.

  6. Headlines provide a perception, iPhone is not as cool any more. This can hurt future sales. Apple needs to be on other carriers. Also, iPhone 4G will help. Once on other carriers, Android sales would dive, but not if Apple waits too long.

  7. Android will most certainly pass iPhone in the coming months, but it’s just part of the process of a whole group of consumers coming to the same realization they have been coming to with Windows: That they have bought into an insecure, malware riddled platform that will eventually cause them more nightmares than they want.

    So let them buy into it. It’s the only way it will be exposed as the inferior platform that it is.

    Eventually they will realize there’s a better way to go.

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