Despite the Apple iPhone’s popularity, it has, historically, been unable to surpass Android-based smartphones in sales. Because there are so many Android phones on every network worldwide – and because many of those smartphones come with a less intimidating price tag – there has always been a significant gap between Apple sales and Android sales.
As of October of last year, that gap has been closing. Why October? It was the date that Apple’s new iPhone 4S was released, complete with an improved camera, and, more importantly, Siri integration.
According to the latest study from Nielsen, the launch of the iPhone 4S drastically increased the proportion of smartphone owners who chose to purchase and use an Apple iPhone.
A survey of new smartphone purchasers revealed that 44.5 percent chose an Apple iPhone in December, compared to only 25.1 percent in October. 57 percent of those new iPhone users bought the new iPhone 4S. That’s nearly a 20 percent increase in demand for the iPhone, mostly due to the 4S.
Android remains the most popular smartphone platform. During the fourth quarter of 2011, 46 percent of smartphone owners used an Android device, while 30 percent had an iPhone and 14.9 percent had a BlackBerry phone.
Among new purchasers, while the majority are still choosing Android phones, a growing portion are picking Apple’s iPhone instead. Thanks to the iPhone 4S and the price drop of the iPhone 4, Apple gained a lot of ground in the smartphone market (new purchases) during the final three months of 2011.
Before the launch of the iPhone 4S, Apple had only a 25.1 percent share, while Android had 61.6 percent. Directly after the release of the iPhone 4S, that gap shifted in favor of the iPhone, and in December, Apple jumped to 44.5 percent market share while Android dropped to 46.9 percent.
Nielsen’s study also revealed that 46 percent of mobile users have a smartphone, and that number is growing rapidly. As more people adopt smartphones, Apple’s tiered, affordable pricing and its ever-evolving feature-rich phones may soon earn it the top spot in the smartphone market.