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NPD quarterly smartphone data questioned

updated 12:08 am EDT, Fri May 4, 2012

Business Insider does the math, doesn't get NPD's numbers

NPD's quarterly market share report was refreshed on May 2, and it listed Android holding 61 percent of the market, with Apple's iOS devices second at 29 percent. Analysts at Business Insider believethat NPD's interpretation of carrier provided data is incorrect and not painting an accurate picture. According to revised estimates calculated by Business Insider, Apple's marketshare is closer to 50 percent and may even be topping Android.

According to AT&T, Apple activated 4.3 million iPhones last quarter. Verizon saw 3.2 million iPhone activations and new carrier Sprint activated 1.5 million iPhones during the same time period. These numbers add up to 63 percent of the smart phone market on the three largest carriers in the US.

Market researchers at The Yankee Group report that Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint account for 80 percent of the overall market in the United States. So, if Apple was responsible for 63 percent of the sales, then iPhones claim 50 percent of the total market during the last quarter.

NPD's defense was their polling methodology. Data is obtained by NPD by polling 12,811 customers and asking which smartphone they bought. When questioned, Ross Rubin, NPD's executive director for Connected Intelligence, suggested the discrepancy could be coming from pre-paid phones.

Further conversation with Rubin suggested that NPD's data is based on sales of new phones, which differs from activations of phones, which may include used or refurbished phones -- neither of which are tracked by NPD. NPD also doesn't track large purchases by organizations or businesses. Both the failure to track non-new phones and enterprise sales may skew the data against Apple in favor of Android phones. [via Business Insider]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Flawed methodology

    If they are leaving "users", esp. large ones, out of their sampling... then it is NO methodology. This guy is nuts.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's better to skew the numbers

    to favor Android. That's the best way to show that Android is winning and iOS is losing. It also helps drive down Apple's share price as frightened investors don't like buying into a losing company.

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