Kantar: iPhone 6 helps Apple gain share over Android, iPhone 5c outselling iPhone 6 Plus in US

Tim Cook (iPhone 6 launch, Palo Alto Apple Store)

In the last three months up to October 31, Apple’s misunderstood iPhone 5c outsold the iPhone 6 Plus in the United States.

Moreover, overall sales of both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets has bumped up Apple’s market share against Android around the world, according to the latest smartphone survey by Kantar Worldpanel, the WPP-owned market researcher.

The research firm reported Wednesday that Apple is poised for a record quarter amid “a huge jump in sales share across almost all major markets” thanks to the new iPhones.

For the three months ending in October 2014, the iPhone 6 registered as the best-selling model among iOS devices with a 33 percent share.

“The iPhone 5s was the second best-selling iPhone model with 26 percent, and the iPhone 5c was third with 18 percent,” said Kantar. “The iPhone 6 Plus captured 10 percent of iOS sales.”

The new iPhones are doing well in other markets, too, especially in Europe, traditionally one of Android’s strongholds. Brand loyalty, not just the bigger phones, is a big part of that.

According to Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, most of the firm’s sales in Europe were driven by loyal Apple users. “Some 86 percent of British buyers upgraded from an older iPhone model, only five percent switched across from Samsung,” he said.

For reference, Apple’s smartphone share in the United Kingdom was only thirty percent just a month ago and it’s now sitting at forty percent, its highest ever level in the country.

The drastic increase is a testament to Apple’s decision to cater to buyers with bigger phones. Check out Kantar’s interactive per-region chart below.

Android in Europe’s five major markets — Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain — accounted for nearly 70 percent of all sales, a 2.6 percentage point decline over a year ago. By contrast, Apple in the same markets grew by nearly six percentage points to 20.7 percent of all sales.

It’s not just United Kingdom or Europe: Apple’s smartphone share has been on the rise in nearly every market while Android handsets either held ground or lost share as a result.

Kantar Worldpanel,(Q3 2014 smartphone share)

As the chart above proves, Samsung continues to bleed share in China to Xiaomi, which makes inexpensive smartphones with appealing designs and features that match most Samsung devices.

Xiaomi grabbed 30 percent of smartphones sales in China during the three-month period, while the iPhone 6 ranked as China’s third best-selling device. Back in the United States, LG has been chipping away at Samsung’s market share as well. In other markets, Samsung remains the top Android vendor.

Although Kantar did not break out the iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 6 Plus sales, the smaller phone outsold the bigger device in the UK by a 4:1 ratio. “The top reasons shoppers gave for choosing the iPhone 6 were 4G capability (51 percent), screen size (49 percent) and design (45 percent),” Kantar writes.

Nearly one out of each three iPhone 6 sales in the UK were sold directly through Apple’s retail operations, the research firm added.

In the United States , the smaller iPhone 6 outsold its bigger brother by a 3:1 ratio. According to TechCrunch, U.S. iPhone 6 Plus buyers tend to be older than iPhone 6 ones.

[Kantar Worldpanel]