iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus are the best-selling smartphones in US (again)

iPhone 7 Plus

Apple traditionally enjoys very strong iPhone sales after it launches new smartphones. And this is certainly true of the three months ending November 2016, when the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus topped the sales charts in US and helped iOS close in on Android in Great Britain.

In US, it is actually an all-iPhone podium, with the iPhone 6s joining the newer models in the top three, according to a new Kantar Worldpanel ComTech report. Apple saw its share rise to 43.5 percent, while Google's Android dropped to 55.3 percent of the market.

Year-over-year, iOS gained 6.4 percentage points (from 37.1 percent in the three months ending November 2015), while Android lost 5.1 percentage points (from 60.4 percent a year prior). Judging by the numbers provided in the report, iOS stole market share from both Android and Windows, which a year prior had 2.3 percent of the market.

Platforms other than Android and iOS are basically irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, as the two control 98.8 percent of the US market. Kantar does not say exactly how much share Windows has left, but it could be around one percent based on the bar graph it provides with the report. So called "other" platforms also register there.

What is particularly interesting is that Google's Pixel line of smartphones, comprised of the Pixel and the Pixel XL, seem to have performed well in the three months ending November 2016, with Kantar estimating that they accounted for 1.3 percent of sales. The Pixel line was released on October 20, making the "figure [...] even more impressive when you take [that] into account".

"Verizon booked nearly a quarter of all US smartphone sales during the Black Friday period, playing a vital role for all brands, including Apple and Samsung", says Lauren Guenveur, Consumer Insight director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. "Buyers were motivated by Verizon’s promotions on both Apple and Samsung’s top phones, including offers of free iPhone 7, 7 Plus and Galaxy S7 phones after trade-in and purchase requirements were met".

In Great Britain, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus helped iOS reach a 48.3 percent market share. That puts it extremely close to Android, which holds 49.6 percent of the market. In the three months ending November 2015, Apple held just 39.2 percent of the market, while Android was on 51.3 percent of the smartphones sold in Great Britain in that respective period.

Just like in US, Apple's gains in Great Britain come at the expense of both Android and Windows. Microsoft's share in the market dropped sharply, to 2.1 percent from 9.1 percent a year prior.

Looking at the five biggest European markets -- namely Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain -- both Android and iOS gained market share. This happened at the expense of Windows, of course. Google's OS is now at 72.4 percent, up from 70.6 percent, while Apple is up to 24.6 percent, from 21.8 percent a year before.

Since Kantar does not cover the fourth quarter of 2016 in this report, we will have to wait until later this month (or the next) to see what sort of effect December sales had on the market share of Android and iOS. Apple is typically very strong during the last part of the year, which is typically also its best quarter.

Worth noting there is that, while Kantar says that Pixel devices performed well, a recent report from Flurry claims that Google's duo "struggled to drum up excitement this holiday season". Based on its data, which covered the period between December 19 and December 25, sales didn't get past the two percent mark in US.

Meanwhile, iPhone accounted for 44 percent of sales. That would still put Android ahead, with up to 56 percent of sales), but likely slightly down compared to Kantar's figures. It remains to be seen whether the likes of IDC and Gartner agree.

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