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Apple Inc. Makes Big Gains in Market Share in the U.S.

Daniel Sparks
January 20, 2014

As its largest market, the U.S. is key to Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) success. Fortunately, Apple's doing incredibly well in its home market. Sure, Samsung may be gaining market share among smartphone manufacturers in the U.S., but not as fast as Apple, according to a new report from NPD.

iPhone 5s.

Apple's soaring U.S. market share
Measuring installed base, iPhone ownership in the U.S. increased to 42% in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to 35% in the year-ago quarter. Apple's seven-percentage-point gain easily trumped Samsung's gain from 22% to 26% during the same period. The only other manufacturer to gain market share on a year-over-year basis was LG, which registered a very small gain. All of the other top manufacturers NPD tracks saw a decline in market share. NPD bases its estimates on a survey of more than 5,000 U.S. consumers age 18 and older.

NPD isn't the only study to paint such an optimistic picture of the iPhone in the U.S. ComScore estimated in December that Apple had a 40.6% share of the installed base of smartphones in the U.S., while Samsung came in second at 24.1%.

The news that Apple is doing well in the U.S. shouldn't come as a surprise. Two separate reputable studies project Apple to gain market share in the U.S. over the coming years.

In April 2013, Yankee Group's Carl Howe projected that Apple will continue to gain market share in the U.S., with its platform eventually even surpassing Android. He cited the iPhone's impressive retention as one of the driving forces in his Markov projection. He explained Apple's potential eloquently:

Think of the Apple and Android ecosystems as two buckets of water. New smartphone buyers -- mostly upgrading feature phone owners -- fall like rain into the two big buckets about equally, with a smaller number falling into Windows Phone and BlackBerry buckets. However, the Android bucket leaks badly, losing about one in five of all the owners put into it. The Apple bucket leaks only about 7 percent of its contents, so it retains more of the customers that fall into it. The Apple bucket will fill up faster and higher than the Android one, regardless of the fact that the Apple bucket may have had fewer owners in it to begin with.

In another estimate, Asymco's Horace Dediu recently projected  that Apple's installed base could grow as large as 68% of Americans (aged 13 and older) by 2017.

The global picture
Globally, Apple's market share story isn't quite as optimistic. Apple's share of shipments in China during the August through