Although it's seen some resurgence in its sagging share price over the past several months, tech giant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) still has its fair share of obstacles to overcome before it once again approaches the $700 range it saw more than a year ago.
Perhaps the most important of those issues is for Apple to continue to see success in the emerging markets that are disproportionately driving smartphone adoption these days. Apple has been steadily losing share in places where sub-$200 handsets powered by Google's Android smartphones are the norm, as should be expected. The real key for Apple is to still find ways to grow its overall unit shipments in emerging markets, which so far it has.
But domestically, Apple has always been a fan favorite. And recent data demonstrated once again just how much Apple truly dominates the U.S. smartphone market.
How to make it in America
Recently, market research firm comScore released its U.S. smartphone sales metrics for the three months ending in October. And as has been for some time now, Apple maintained its place at the top spot in this key market.
Apple isn't alone
However, Apple's dominance of the U.S. market is without its threats. South Korean tech giant Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF), the leading producer of Google's Android devices, also looms large. It notched the single largest gain among the top five handset makers in the United States. It's worth noting as well that Samsung's gains here also probably came in at least some portion from other Android-based OEMs such as HTC and LG, both of which saw their market share contract during the period comScore measured.
Extending the discussion to operating systems more broadly, the comScore data paints a somewhat different picture for Apple.
Here, Apple meaningfully lags Google's Android, which increased its percentage of the U.S. smartphone market more than Apple. However, as was also the case with specific handset OEMs, Google's success here could be as much stealing share from struggling names such as BlackBerry as anything else.
Only a small piece of the puzzle
Success in the U.S. is of course hugely important for Apple. Despite CEO Tim Cook's prescient emphasis on international growth, Apple has become a slightly more U.S.-centric company over the past three years.
Over those three years, Apple's sales in the United States as a percentage of total sales has actually increased slightly to 39%. Especially considering the strong momentum Apple appears to have going into the holiday season, Apple could even potentially see this number increase further.
Although the U.S. is thought of as a mature smartphone market, comScore's figures estimated that smartphone penetration in the United States reached 62.5% at the end of October.
The U.S. is by no means Apple's largest growth opportunity. However its ongoing success in its home market, as we saw most recently from comScore, is certainly something Apple investors should be thankful for this holiday season.
Fool contributor Andrew Tonner owns shares of Apple. Follow Andrew and all his writing on Twitter at @AndrewTonner. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.