comScore’s latest numbers for the U.S. phone market released a few days ago. While they didn’t present any startling, unexpected trend (Android, iOS grew; BlackBerry, Windows fell), a bit of number crunching by Horace Dediu reveals an interesting fact.
The smartphone market grew by 0.6% in a period of three months ending November 2011, which means 1.4 million Americans bought a smartphone for the first time. This growth, however, is unusually low, slightly more than half of what it was in the previous period.
From the chart above, Dediu notes some interesting observations:
Android growth was the primary cause of a change in the [smartphone growth] pattern. The iPhone grew slightly more slowly sequentially but the difference between November and previous periods is not great (941k adds vs. an average of 904k over the previous 12 months.) BlackBerry moderated its losses and Windows is quite a small influence on the market.
Android gain was 1.2 million vs a trailing twelve months’ average of 2.24 million. Android’s slowing in the US is significant.
The most obvious reason for the slump (in Android numbers as well as smartphones in general) is the dull period, right before the holiday season. We’re not very sure if Android numbers are affected the same way as iPhone sales right before a major device launch (Galaxy Nexus), but that is another possible reason.
But more importantly as Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune rightly points out, while most reports claim that Android is walloping iOS, Apple’s market share actually grew at a faster rate month over month than Google’s over the last 12 months.
Over the past year, Apple’s market share has grown slowly but steadily month over month. Google’s (GOOG) rate of market share growth, by contrast, has dropped sharply, from a high of 20% last January to a new low of 1.3% in comScore’s November data.
Both iOS and Android have enjoyed a blockbuster holiday season, and although we don’t have any official numbers from Apple, data available from Flurry and Andy Rubin suggests more than 3 million iOS devices were activated (worldwide) on Christmas day. So it’ll be interesting to see numbers, both from Apple and Google, for the period from October to December in their next quarterly financial results.
For Dediu’s full analysis, hit the source link below.