Apple became the largest mobile phone vendor in the US for the first time during the fourth quarter of 2012, according to analyst group Strategy Analytics.
The iPhone maker captured a 34 percent market share, having shipped 17.7 million of its smartphones during the period. The number of iPhones shipped was a 25 percent improvement on the 12.8 million shipped during the same quarter in 2011.
The Strategy Analytics report said the increase was due to Apple’s ecosystem of iPhones and the App Store, generous operator subsidies and extensive marketing around the iPhone 5.
A total of 52 million mobile phones were sold in Q4, a 4 percent increase compared to 50.2 million during the fourth quarter of 2011. Senior analyst Neil Shah attributed the growth to “robust demand” from consumers for 4G smartphones and 3G feature phones.
Samsung lost the number one position it has held since 2008 despite improving its market share by five percentage points. The South Korean company secured a 32 percent US market share with 16.8 million phones shipped.
LG retained its number-three position despite its market share dropping to 9 percent from 14 percent a year before. Strategy Analytics estimates that the company shipped 4.7 million mobile phones during the period, down from 6.9 million in Q4 2011.
The report said LG has struggled to compete with Apple and Samsung in the high-growth smartphone sector.
The growth in mobile phone sales in Q4 comes after the market contracted by 16 percent for the first three quarters of last year as economic uncertainty and tighter operator upgrade policies had an effect.
Despite the growth in Q4, 2012 mobile phone shipments actually fell 11 percent to 166.9 million in 2012 compared to 186.8 million units in 2011.