iPhone 5S puts Apple back on top in the US as Samsung slips in September

Data from Counterpoint Research shows that iPhones outsold Samsung phones for the first time in six months, but the Korean company is still ahead in general

The new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5 made Apple the US top smartphone seller in September, despite their only being on sale for 10 days of the month.

New data from Counterpoint Research provided exclusively to the Guardian shows that Apple sold 4.8m phones there in September, jumping to a 38% share of the entire US smartphone market for the month. The figures include sales of the new iPhone 5S and 5C, which went on sale there on 20 September.

The competition saw Samsung drop to overall second place after having led the market since May. 

Individually, the 5S was the best-selling phone, while the Samsung Galaxy S4 was the second best-selling. The cheaper 5C was in third spot.

But together, the two companies dominate the US smartphone business. Data from Counterpoint research shows that of the 68.1m smartphones sold in the US from April, 41.9m - or 61% - came from the two companies. Samsung is ahead of Apple, having sold 23.4m phones there in that period, against 18.5m for Apple.

That balance however is expected to change as more buyers seek out the iPhone. Separate data from ComScore suggests that growth in the total number of Android owners in the US has slowed over the summer, while that for Apple has held steady. The introduction of the new iPhones is expected to accelerate that. 

However the cheaper iPhone 5C has not proved hugely popular with buyers so far, said Peter Richardson, research director at Counterpoint. "In general it seems that the 5C has been overshadowed by the 5S," he said. "The nature of the iPhone buyer is that they seem to be willing to pay for the best experience. The 5C is still regarded as slightly downmarket."

Separate data from Mixpanel, which monitors apps and other usage, suggests that the 5S is outselling the 5C by just under 4:1 on a global scale.

US smartphone data
How Samsung and Apple have sold in the US in the past six months. Source: Counterpoint Research. Photograph: /Guardian Photograph: PR

Richardson said that the top-end Samsung Galaxy S4, launched in May, "did well initially but as with a lot of Samsung products, it burned brightly but briefly." He says Samsung had big expectations about how many handsets it would sell but it underperformed: "if you're in the supply chain for the S4, the order book is closing down."

Apple tends to sell strongly in the US around Christmas, which has been timed around the release of phones over the past three years. 

Among other Android brands, Counterpoint said that none fared well. LG's share fell below 10% of total sales despite launching its G2 model. Motorola increased its share slightly, to around 5%,while HTC's fell to around 3%.

Nokia's share was lower than HTC's, according to Counterpoint, suggesting that it sold fewer than 400,000 phones in the US during September. For the quarter, Counterpoint's data suggests that Nokia sold fewer than 1.5m phones in the US.

Counterpoint: US phone share
US phone share by month. Source: Counterpoint Research. Photograph: /PR Photograph: PR


Charles Arthur

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
An iPhone for £75? That really is too good to be true

Shenzhen is the hi-tech manufacturing hub making one quarter of the world's smartphones - but also millions of fakes

Charles Arthur

13, May, 2014 @7:04 PM

Article image
iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C launch to 'brighten everyone's day', says Apple

Apple will launch top-end iPhone 5S and cheaper iPhone 5C in an event to be shown to a select group in China

Charles Arthur, technology editor

09, Sep, 2013 @10:05 AM

Article image
iPhones 5s and 5c sell 9m in record weekend as Apple shrugs off doubters

Data suggests 5s outsold 5c two to one as high-end smartphone market still shows promise and 200m upgrade to newer iOS 7 software. By Charles Arthur

Charles Arthur

23, Sep, 2013 @3:06 PM

Article image
Boot up: Steam rising, Nokia banning HTC in the UK, GTA 5 marketing genius and more
Samuel Gibbs: Plus Apple suggests turning your laptop off and on again if it's behaving badly, Samsung sells more phones than Apple, Nokia and BlackBerry combines, flying drones get a roll cage, and more

Samuel Gibbs

01, Nov, 2013 @7:00 AM

Article image
Apple iPhone 5C and 5S launch gives China hang up over high price
Chinese analysts and consumers at Apple press event in Beijing say plastic 5C model is not low-end as publicity had suggested

Jonathan Kaiman in Beijing

11, Sep, 2013 @1:50 PM

Article image
iPhone 5S makes rapid start in China and hits 10% of iPhones in use, data shows
CounterPoint Research report comes before China Mobile deal, while iOS 7 adoption running faster than last year, statistics show. By Charles Arthur

Charles Arthur

12, Dec, 2013 @7:00 AM

Article image
Apple unveils iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C - video

Two new iPhone models are unveiled at the Apple campus in Cupertino, California, on Tuesday

10, Sep, 2013 @7:06 PM

Article image
How to extend your iPhone or Android's battery life
Tweaking settings and turning off unused features can help get the longest life from your smartphone. By Samuel Gibbs and Charles Arthur

Samuel Gibbs and Charles Arthur

09, Jul, 2014 @6:00 AM

Article image
China Mobile's Apple iPhone preorders hit 1.2m as Xiaomi and Huawei rise
Tim Cook hails 'watershed day' before iPhone release on world's largest carrier on Friday, while Samsung is dethroned by local handset maker in December. By Charles Arthur

Charles Arthur

15, Jan, 2014 @12:35 PM

Article image
iPhone 6 launch to break Apple records, say reports
The company has ordered 80m handsets for the launch of the new iPhone this year, according a leak from the supply chain. By Samuel Gibbs

Samuel Gibbs

22, Jul, 2014 @9:55 AM