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Apple Grows Phone Market Share in U.S., Europe, China

So says a new report from Kantar Worldpanel.

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

Apple won’t disclose iPhone 6 sales until it reports earnings later this month, but a new analyst report suggests a strong launch of the bigger-screen smartphones helped the Cupertino technology giant gain market share around the world.

Android remains the world’s dominant operating system, accounting for nearly three out of four smartphones sold. But Kantar Worldpanel reports its market share declined in most major European markets and in the United States over the three months ending in November.

Samsung’s loss is apparently Apple’s gain.

The new Kantar Worldpanel report covers the staggered launch period for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which became available on Sept. 19 in the U.S., Australia, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. It reached Italy and Spain on Sept. 26, and became available in China on Oct. 17.

In the U.S., Apple accounted for nearly half of all smartphones sold from September through November — 47.3 percent, Kantar reported. Indeed, the iPhone 6 was the best-selling smartphone following its September debut.

Kantar found that Apple also made major gains in Great Britain, where the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus accounted for 42.5 percent of all smartphones sold over the same three-month period.

“The longer the new iPhone models are on the market, the more their appeal will extend beyond Apple’s loyal customers,” said Dominic Sunnebo, Global Strategic Insight Director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Apple also made significant strides in Australia, where it accounted for 45 percent of all smartphones sold over that time frame.

In urban China, Android phones make up more than 80 percent of the market — thanks in part to the strength of local manufacturers, such as Xiaomi. Nonetheless, Apple increased its share of the smartphone market in that region to 18 percent, with China Mobile as its main distributor in the region.

The only country where Kantar says Apple didn’t grow over the three-month period was Japan — where iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales faced difficult comparisons to the same period in 2013, when Apple had struck a distribution deal with NTT DoCoMo.

Analysts, meanwhile, have attempted to estimate iPhone sales. UBS issued a report projecting sales of 69.3 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices through the December quarter. Other analysts offered more conservative estimates, with Morgan Stanley pegging sales at 67 million units and Citi projecting sales of 62 million units.

More than half of all smartphones activated on Christmas were iPhones.

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