Android has grabbed the lead over iOS in the battle for U.S. smartphone buyers, according to a report out yesterday from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
From mid-November through mid-February, Android increased its share of U.S. smartphone sales to 51.2 percent, up from 45 percent during the same three-month period in 2012. Over the same time, Apple's iOS dropped to second place as its share of U.S. sales fell to 43.5 percent from 47 percent.
Much of the surge in Android can be attributed to Apple arch-rival Samsung.
Prices drops on Samsung phones in the last half of 2012 prompted many smartphone and feature phone users to upgrade to a Samsung device, Kantar said. Overall, many people who opted for a Samsung phone last year gravitated toward one of the company's flagship devices.
Among those who purchased a Samsung phone in the last year, 52 percent chose a Galaxy S3, 21 percent a Galaxy S2, and 5 percent a Galaxy Note 2. Samsung buyers cited the cost of the phone and the carrier brand as key drivers for their purchase.
"Of those who changed their phone over the last year to a Samsung smartphone, 19 percent had previously owned a Samsung feature phone, 15 percent owned an HTC smartphone, 14 percent owned an LG featurephone, 10 percent owned a Samsung smartphone, and 9 percent owned a BlackBerry," Kantar analyst Mary-Ann Parlato said in a statement. "It's apparent that Samsung is successful at capturing users from across the competitor set and not just gaining from their own loyalists, (albeit loyalty towards Samsung has also grown)."
What of the rest of the smartphone world?
Microsoft's Windows Phone saw an increase in sales share, jumping to 4.1 percent from 2.7 percent a year earlier. Beyond Android, Windows Phone was the only platform to see its share of sales increase, according to the report.
BlackBerry continued to see its sales fall, accounting for 0.7 percent of sales -- down from 3.6 percent in 2012. Nokia's Symbian was stuck in last place among the top five, ekeing out just 0.1 percent of U.S. sales from its 0.5 percent a year earlier.
Kantar derived its data from more than 240,000 interviews of mobile phone users. The report focused on actual sales rather than market share.