iPhone accounted for nearly 40% of U.S. smartphone sales in 3Q11 as world waited for next-gen iPhone

“Nielsen’s third quarter survey of mobile users seemed to reaffirm what many have been saying; Android continues to grab more smartphone market share, with 43% U.S. share compared to iPhone’s 28%. This morning, I thought a little bit more about Nielsen’s data and something just didn’t seem right,” Sammy the Walrus IV writes for AAPL Orchard.

“Since I follow AT&T’s and Verizon’s quarterly earnings, I recalled how AT&T’s most recent report indicated iPhone accounted for approximately 60% of AT&T’s smartphone sales,” SWIV writes. “How was it possible that iPhone has less than 30% overall smartphone share in the U.S., while iPhone share at AT&T (the carrier with the highest smartphone penetration rate) is over 60%? After collecting a few more data points and running with conservative assumptions, I estimate that iPhone accounted for close to 40% of U.S. smartphones sold during 3Q11.”

SWIV writes, “During 3Q11, AT&T sold 4.8 million smartphones, of which 2.7 million were iPhones (56%). Meanwhile, Verizon sold 5.6 million smartphones, of which 2 million where iPhones (36%). Combined, iPhone accounted for 45% of smartphones sold at AT&T and Verizon during 3Q… My primary theory for why Nielsen’s market share data is wrong, or at least misleading, is that some OEMs have altered Android to such a degree that many “Android-powered” phones are actually better classified as feature phones – great for text messaging, but lacking mobile browsers or apps. Nielsen is then unable to distinguish Android-powered feature phones from smartphones and simply assumes any Android-powered phone must be a smartphone.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Nick P.” for the heads up.]


  1. Who gives a flying rat’s ass about any of this data? Android can give away its phones, but it’s Apple that makes all the profits. That’s the only score that counts. I like Google’s strategy a lot. Give away Android and watch its mobile ad revenue shrink as Apple’s Siri explodes. Siri is shaking her boobs in Google’s face, leaving Sergey and Larry frustrated and going home with blue balls. They are about to get Jobsed.

    1. You know I was thinking about that, all the talk about “android on the rise” and all. But you know, I think it really is a bunch of cow pucks. Let me explain…
      Samsung LG Moto & blackberry were likely accounting for three quarters (conservatively) of the “smartphone” market before Apple came to the party and showed the world what a smartphone really was. Apple went “from zero percent” (quote from balmy) to what, 30% of the smart phone market In a few years.
      But the press goes on about how “android phones” (from the same-samsung moto and LG) is on the rise. Seems to me that is just clever metrics, that the true story is those established manuf. just lost almost half their smartphone market to a newcomer who shows no let up to their relentless growth.

      1. That’s a good way of looking at it. Android, in the generic sense, is just filling in the space formerly occupied by Symbian and Palm and MS. Since the Android OS is “free,” it makes sense that handset manufacturers are using it for a wide range of phone models, from low-end phones that are essentially the new “feature” phones to high-end models that attempt to compete with the iPhone.

        Google is aiming for mindshare, hoping that will eventually translate into profits. The handset makers are going along because they are desperate – they have nothing else with which to battle the iPhone.

        But don’t sell Google’s strategy short. Given enough time (assuming that the legal challenges don’t kill it), the Android OS will get better. It happened with Windows until 3.0 was finally good enough to get it rolling. All that the Google-Android crowd have to do is fool people for long enough to get something good enough on the table to damp down the urge to switch – a captive audience, so to speak. Is the ridiculously named “Ice Cream Sandwich” the Windows 3.0 of Android? The word is that it is pretty good.

        Only time will tell. But I am glad that Apple is taking a proactive stance in continuing to develop its product lines in parallel to protecting the brand through legal avenues.

        1. Except last time they (ms) had a poorly worded licensing agreement that left a lot of loopholes open. Also at the time apple was just stagnating in both hardware and software.

          This time they (google) has no such agreement and apple is innovating on all 12 cylinders, even if they can get something reasonable out apple is leapfrogging them in hardware and software. Android phones are a joke, anyone (with a scintilla of clue and no blinders on) who has owned one can tell you.

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