Over the past couple of days two reports have been released showing Android with a healthy hold on the U.S. smartphone market. One small problem with those numbers. Sales data from the three largest U.S. carriers don’t back them up. At all.
Over the past few days, both comScore and NPD have put out data showing that Android still has a healthy hold on the U.S. smartphone market with their best market share numbers yet. According to comScore, Android controls 51 percent of the market. According to NPD, it’s more like 61 percent.
For comparison, Apple is the number two player with 30.7 percent of the market according to comScore, and 29 percent according to NPD.
While the reports cite the above numbers, actual sales numbers from the carriers tell a different story.
“In the last quarter, the iPhone accounted for 78 percent of all smartphones sold through AT&T. On Verizon, the iPhone accounted for 51 percent of all smartphones sold. Sprint didn’t report their total smartphone sales numbers, only iPhone sales numbers, but estimates peg the iPhone percentage around 60 percent. The iPhone is not (yet) sold on the nation’s fourth largest carrier, T-Mobile.”
So, 78 percent of all smartphones sold by AT&T are iPhones, On Verizon, the iPhones account for 51 percent. Sprint didn’t report total smartphone sales, just iPhone sales, but estimates put the iPhone percentage somewhere near 60 percent. T-Mobile doesn’t as yet sell the iPhone.
Jay Yarow of Business Insider did the math: all together, the iPhone accounted for 63 percent of the smartphone sales in the past quarter on the big three carriers. According to the Yankee Group, the big three carriers account for roughly 80 percent of the overall U.S. smartphone market. This comes out to almost exactly 50 percent of the overall smartphone market in the U.S. for Apple.
Siegler says that it’s hard to see how Android could control 61 percent of the market when there’s only 50 percent to spare. Considering there are also smartphones available from Nokia, RIM, and Microsoft, giving Android the entire 50 percent means the other companies are selling zero. (Possible…)
It is possible that the rapid swing on Apple’s favor exposes some of the flaws in how these surveys collect their data. Various technicalities can explain some of the discrepancies, but when actual sales numbers from the big three carriers are brought into the mix, something doesn’t add up.
Siegler goes into much more detail in his article than we have space for here, it’s a very interesting article, and I recommend it highly, especially for readers who enjoy number crunching.