updated 09:40 am EDT, Thu June 30, 2011
Nielsen study shows iPhone bouncing back in US
Nielsen bucked common perceptions Thursday with a study showing the iPhone controlling smartphone growth in the US. Supporting earlier looks, it saw Android's growth among recent buyers as having entirely flattened out the moment the Verizon iPhone was available, at 27 percent, and continuing through at least May. The iPhone sat at 10 percent of newer buyers at the start of the year but surged to 17 percent by May.
Android still had the overall market share lead at 38 percent, but the iPhone was still growing its share at 27 percent. Either platform was mostly taking share away from the BlackBerry, which declined again to 21 percent. Every other platform, including Windows Phone, was largely static.
The shift reinforced a mounting belief that Android's growth in the US has been helped more by the absence of the iPhone outside of AT&T, not necessarily through direct demand. A deeper test is expected with a new iPhone in September, since many are believed to be holding off on buying a Verizon iPhone until an upgrade and might have a chance at buying a Sprint or T-Mobile version at the same time.
RIM stands to lose the most as trends have see its share of recent buyers drop to just six percent, putting it only slightly above "other." RIM has acknowledged delays in getting modern BlackBerrys as a significant problem but is seeing a poor future outlook that will have seen it lose a quarter of its market share in just the space of half a year. Concerns exist that it may not recover the share it once had even if the Bold 9900 and other BlackBerry 7 phones prove popular.
Smartphone ownership crossed a milestone as a whole in the US. About 38 percent of American cellphone owners now have a smartphone, and this year smartphones overtook basic feature phones in sales trends, with 55 percent of recent buyers getting one of the more advanced handsets.