Apple’s launch of the iPhone 6 in the fall has enabled it to expand its smartphone market share significantly in Japan and South Korea, as total global iPhone sales reached a record 20 million units per month in November, according to Counterpoint Research.

With strong pent-up demand for a larger-format device (iPhone 6 Plus), global iPhone sales jumped 26 per cent year-on-year in November.

In Japan Apple’s share of the smartphone market rose to more than 50 per cent in October and November (see chart below, click to enlarge), while Samsung’s slipped to below 6 per cent (it was near 20 per cent from May to July), Counterpoint’s research showed. Sony’s share dropped from a peak of over 30 per cent in July to just 17 per cent in November.

In South Korea Apple gained on market leader Samsung, which from May to October accounted for around 60 per cent of smartphone sales in the country (see chart below, click to enlarge). In November the iPhone captured a third of sales, while Samsung’s share fell to 46 per cent. LG’s share dropped a few points to 14 per cent.

Counterpoint Research Director in Korea Tom Kang noted that no foreign brand has had more than a 20 per cent market share in the history of Korea’s smartphone industry. “It has always been dominated by Samsung. But the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have made a difference here, denting the competition’s phablet sales.”

Kang said that without supply shortages of the higher memory models, Apple’s share could have hit 40 per cent.

In China, where sales of the iPhone 6 reportedly outstripped shipments in the US for the first time in Q4, Apple moved into the third spot in November behind Lenovo and leader Xiaomi, with its share surpassing 12 per cent. Counterpoint said iPhone sales climbed 45 per cent year-on-year in November.

Analysts predict that in China the iPhone 6 Plus will account for as much as 40 per cent of iPhone sales in 2014. In Hong Kong one mobile operator told Mobile World Live that the sales ratio between the two models is close to 50:50, but now leaning towards the Plus.