Apple passes LG for second U.S. spot as iOS-Android duopoly tops 90%

comScore chart (201211, top US mobile vendors)

Lots of interesting data points to chew on in the latest comScore survey pertaining to cell phone sales in the United States during a three-month period ending November 2012. According to data, having knocked LG out of the position it held, Apple rose to become the second cell phone maker in the United States, despite only making smartphones.

Furthermore, nearly one out of each five mobile phone owners in the country is now using an iPhone. Looking just at smartphones, more than one in three U.S. subscribers now own a ‘boring’ iPhone. And as Apple and Samsung remain the only two smartphone vendors seeing growth in the U.S., no wonder iOS and Android now hold 90 percent of the country’s market for smartphones. Talk about duopoly!

ComScore’s latest numbers corroborate their earlier finding about LG having fallen against Apple. The new survey tells us that the Cupertino firm picked up 1.4 percent of the domestic market, rising to 18.5 percent.

LG fell by almost a point, dropping to 18.2 percent of the American market. Samsung continues to be the country’s top handset maker, picking up 1.2 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers.

According to the survey, Google’s Android now accounts for 53.7 percent of U.S. smartphone owners while Apple has 35 percent, the two rivals controlling almost 90 percent of the American smartphone market.


No wonder all other phone makers hold just single-digit shares of the U.S. marketplace. ComScore data also tells us that overall, LG had 17.5 percent in November, down from 18.2 percent in August 2012.

Among just smartphone makers, the third-ranked RIM had 7.3 percent of the U.S. market in November, down one percent from August.

#4 Microsoft shed 0.6 percent for a 3 percent marketshare, while Symbian rounded out the top five with 0.5 percent, down from 0.7 percent in August.

The analytics firm also reports that texting remains the most popular use for cell phones in the United States. About three out of each four mobile subscribers said they texted someone during the three-month period ending in November, representing a 0.3 percent increase from August.

Asymco chart (US mobile platforms net user gain, 201211)
US Mobile platforms net user gain via Asymco, based on comScore data.

And just like Flurry and Nielsen data showed, downloading apps remains the second most popular mobile activity.

While growth of most mobile activities stayed relatively flat between August and November of 2012, game playing from your phone slipped by 0.3 percent. Just over a quarter (28.7 percent) of U.S. mobile phone subscribers said they listened to music on their handset.

The new numbers confirm their is a tightening in the smartphone race as Android and iOS leave only crumbs for their competitors. In November, another survey found Android was at 51 percent and Apple at 31 percent.

Globally, Android is said to own around 75 percent of smartphone sales, according to IDC, although an earlier comScore survey indicates Apple traditionally has performed better at home.

Despite the release of Windows Phone, Microsoft’s mobile software has failed miserably to pick up any meaningful traction in the United States. Worse, Microsoft fell to three percent behind RIM. This poor showing could fuel talk that the software giant is mulling over building its own phone.

Asymco chart (US smartphones in use by platform, 201211)
Another telling chart by Asymco shows Android peaking and Apple gaining.

Since the comScore number stop in November, the question is whether Apple can use its holiday sales boost to continue gaining U.S. marketshare.

Although slight, Apple’s 1.4 percent growth outpaced Samsung’s 1.2 percent November increase.

Is this new market data a surprise for you?

And for those trailing the Android-iOS duopoly, is there any hope to break out of the single digits?