US Insights

Underdogs show mo’ in cell phone wars

Tech // Mobile 01.06.2014

Dominic Sunnebo

Global Consumer Insight Director, Kantar Worl…

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T-Mobile, Windows signal momentum in the latest quarter

Score one for the underdogs in the cell phone wars. According to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, T-Mobile overtook Sprint as the third best-selling carrier for the three-month period ending in November 2013. The "un-carrier" claimed 13.3% of sales for the quarter. T-Mobile also was the only major carrier to see year-over-year growth, up 6.3 percentage points.

And Windows Phone, whose status as the nation's third-largest operating system masks just how far it lags behind leader Android and second-ranked iOS, claimed nearly 5% of smartphone sales for the quarter, up 2.1 percentage points from the previous year.

The Windows gain contrasted with a slog for iOS. Although iOS once again ranked a close second behind Android in smartphone sales, with 43.1% of sales for the quarter, that figure was down 9.9 percentage points from the same period in 2012. Android claimed 50.3% of the smartphone market for the quarter.

The iPhone 5S and 5C were the two best-selling smartphones for the three-month stretch. However, stronger competition from Android brands and a resurgence of LG and Nokia has made year-on-year share gains for Apple difficult. This is especially true on T-Mobile.

T-Mobile's "un-carrier" marketing strategy, launched earlier in 2013, has succeeded by attracting featurephone owners looking to upgrade to their first smartphone. Among T-Mobile smartphone buyers in November, 55% of those who purchased LG and Nokia smartphones were first-time smartphone buyers, compared to just 39% of Apple customers.

Source: Kantar Worldpanel

Editor's Notes

Data cited here are derived from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech USA's consumer panel, the largest continuous consumer research mobile phone panel of its kind in the world, conducting more than 240,000 interviews per year in the US alone. ComTech tracks mobile phone behavior and the customer journey, including purchasing of phones, mobile phone bills/airtime, and source of purchase and phone usage. This data is exclusively focused on the sales within this three-month period rather than market share figures. Sales shares exemplify more forward-focused trends and should represent the market share for these brands in future. To speak with the author, contact us.

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