Strong iPhone 5 sales knock Android into second place

Apple’s iPhone 5 sales have pushed iOS into the No. 1 spot for smartphone operating systems in the US, according to a new report released on Tuesday.

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s study shows that iOS now has 48.1 percent of US smartphone sales, while Android has 46.7 percent, pushing it back to second place.

Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar said the last time Apple was able to overtake Android was after the release of the iPhone 4S. However, this time the research company expects Apple to beat its previous high of 49.3 percent, achieving its highest share ever of the smartphone market.

The study shows that 61 percent of iPhone 5 purchases have come from existing iPhone owners upgrading, but there have been some crossgrades as well. People switching from Android accounted for 13 percent of iPhone 5 purchases and 6 percent of BlackBerry users have switched to the iPhone 5.

“An impressive 92% of existing Apple owners in the US said they will choose an iPhone the next time they upgrade,” said Sunnebo. “While loyalty is clearly key, it is also important to make sure that new customers are attracted to your brand. With roughly 60% of US iPhone 5 sales coming from existing customers and 40% from new consumers, Apple is achieving this at the moment – a clear sign of the strength of the brand in the US marketplace.”

Kantar noted that Apple is also enjoying share gains in four of the five major European countries, although Germany and Spain remain tough markets for them.