Shares Shift within Android as LG Grows, HTC Declines

Android and iOS Lock-in Customers

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, LLC (CIRP) today released analysis of the results of its research on mobile phone operating systems and brands for the calendar quarter that ended March 31, 2017. This analysis features findings about market share trends in mobile phone operating systems and brands in the US from January-March 2017.

CIRP research shows that the two major mobile operating systems, Google Android and Apple iOS, controlled about 98% of US customer mobile phone activations in the first quarter (Chart 1). In the March 2017 quarter, Android accounted for 59% of US activations, up from the 57% share in the year-ago March 2017 quarter, but down from 65% in the December 2016 quarter. iOS accounted for 38% of activations, down from its 40% share in the year-ago March 2017 quarter, and up from its 33% share in the December 2016 quarter.

Chart 1: Operating System Share of Mobile Phone Activations

Chart 1: Operating System Share of Mobile Phone Activations

At least in the US, it has become increasingly difficult for Apple and Google to persuade customers to switch operating systems. iOS and Android account for almost all new operating system sales.  Their respective shares vary seasonally around product launches, and the results for the first calendar quarters of 2017 and 2016 are almost exactly the same.

Among phone brands, Apple had the highest share in the US market in the March 2017 quarter, at 38%, with Samsung next at 30% and LG at 18% (Chart 2). All other brands, including Motorola, HTC, and others, accounted for the remaining 14%.

Chart 2: Brand Share of Mobile Phone Activations

Chart 2: Brand Share of Mobile Phone Activations

We do see meaningful shifting of share among brands within the Android operating system. Samsung seems to have suffered from slack demand still coming off the Galaxy Note 7 recall and in anticipation of the Galaxy 8 launch. LG appears to have eclipsed the remaining Android manufacturers and consistently captures the second-largest share of Android sales. Motorola persists with a small but consistent 4% share, while HTC has fallen to within the ranks of minor manufacturers in the US.

CIRP bases its findings on a survey of 500 US subjects, from April 1-12, 2017, that activated a new or used phone in the January-March 2017 period. For additional information, please contact CIRP.