Photo: Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Apple appears to have taken control of 50% of the smartphone market in the first quarter of 2012, despite a report to the contrary by NPD this morning.NPD put out a press release saying Android was the best selling smartphone operating system in the first quarter, grabbing 61% of the market. Apple’s iOS was in second, according to NPD, with 29% of the market.
However, there’s a big problem with this data. It runs contrary to what the carriers themselves are actually reporting.
At AT&T, Apple activated 4.3 million iPhones, or 78% of all AT&T smartphones for the quarter. At Verizon it activated 3.2 million iPhones, or 51% of all Verizon smartphones for the quarter. At Sprint it activated 1.5 million iPhones, or 60% of all smartphones for the quarter, according to Macquarie’s Kevin Smithen.
Total it all up, and Apple had 63% of the smartphone market on those three big carriers.
Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T account for ~80% of the overall wireless market in the U.S., according to a Yankee Group report from August.
If Apple accounted for 63% of 80% of the smartphone sales on those carriers, then it had 50% of the total smartphone market in the U.S. in the first quarter of the year.
So, how did NPD get to its number of 29%? We asked, and the answer wasn’t all that satisfying.
Ross Rubin, executive director for Connected Intelligence at NPD, told us NPD’s data is based on surveying 12,811 consumers about what smartphones they bought in the first quarter. We asked why he didn’t cross it with actual reported results. He said that’s not part of their methodology. He also suggested that the discrepancy could be coming from the rise of pre-paid phones.
It’s possible, but it looks sure looks like NPD is using faulty data to arrive at its conclusion.
Most importantly for Apple and Android, when consumers are given a choice between phones they are picking iPhones. The data from Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon prove that consumers prefer the iPhone over Android when given a choice.
So, either Android can make a better operating system, or it can figure out how to keep the iPhone off carrier networks.
UPDATE: Rubin got back to us with further defence of NPD:
“NPD tracks sellthrough of new handsets. This is different than activations, which may include used or refurbished handsets. Also, NPD tracks only the consumer retail market and does not track enterprise sales.
Third, according to our information, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint together account for 60 per cent of the carriers connected with mobile phones. Their share of postpaid is significantly higher, but still significantly below 90 per cent.”
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