Shortly after Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) reported its best second quarter ever, comScore noted Apple's smartphone market share lead in the U.S. has increased further. And another report released this week by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows increasing market share for iPhones in Europe and China, too. The tech giant's ability to maintain strong market share, despite its devices' premium price points, continually demonstrates Apple's durability in the market.
Market share gains
In the U.S., first-place Apple increased its share of smartphone subscribers from 41.6% in December, 2014 to 42.6% in March, 2015, according to new data from comScore. Second-place Samsung's share of smartphone subscribers fell 1.4 percentage points during the same period, to 28.3%. comScore's smartphone share data is based on three-month average smartphone subscribers, with the period ending March, 2015 in its most recent study.
Basing its data on operating systems instead of smartphone brands, and using total quarterly unit sales instead of average smartphone subscribers, Kantar data shows significant gains for iPhones in China and Europe. Apple's share of first-quarter smartphone sales in China jumped to 26.1% in Q1 from 17.9% in the year-ago quarter. In Europe, Apple smartphone share rose 1.8 percentage points compared to the year-ago quarter. During the same period, Google's Android share of quarterly smartphone sales fell 3.1 percentage points.
iPhone: A smashing success
Apple is riding the success of its new flagship iPhone lineup, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, as well as the strength of its older iPhone models, which Apple sells at lower prices.
The huge success of Apple's new iPhone was clear in the Cupertino-based company's first- and second-quarter results. In Q1 and Q2, iPhone unit sales were up 46% and 40%, respectively, from the year-ago quarter. iPhone revenue was up 57% and 55% during the same period.
In Europe, Kantar points to a high rate of Android switchers.
"On average, across Europe's big five countries during the first quarter, 32.4% of Apple's new customers switched to iOS from Android," reported Kantar Chief of Research Carolina Milanesi.
In China, where iPhone unit sales volume now surpasses the U.S. market, according to Kantar, the company is benefiting from expanding reach to less affluent buyers.
"In 1Q15, Apple represented 25% of smartphone sales in urban China's 2,000 to 4,000 RMBs [or $322 to $644] income bracket -- a 10.1 percentage point increase from the same period in 2014," read the Kantar report.
With Apple decreasing the price of its iPhone models by $100 every subsequent year of their availability, the company's current offering of lower-priced iPhone models are far better than those offered in the past. Today, Apple's iPhone lineup available for purchase in China, from least expensive to most expensive, consists of the iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus (notably, all the iPhone models compatible with Apple Watch). Though with the cheapest iPhone in China priced at 3,288 RMB, or $530, the phone still isn't cheap by any means.
Apple's total revenue in Greater China, a market segment including China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, reached $9.3 billion in Q2, just short of Apple's Europe revenue of $10.2 billion.
Apple's iPhone sales now account for a record 69.4% of the company's revenue in Q2, up from 57.1% in the year-ago quarter.