Apple's latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones helped the company capture about 50 percent of the fourth-quarter 2014 smartphone sales in the United States, which helped the company handily beat its closest competitor, Samsung, by a two-to-one margin.
The U.S. fourth-quarter sales figures were unveiled Jan. 23 in the Chicago-based Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) analyst firm's quarterly report on consumer trends in mobile phones. The report covers U.S. smartphone sales from October through December 2014.
"The strength of the September 2014 launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus fueled Apple's dominance in U.S. mobile phone sales this quarter," Josh Lowitz, a partner and co-founder of CIRP, said in a statement. "Apple had virtually double the sales of Samsung, and five times that of LG. No other brand accounted for as much as 5 percent of U.S. sales."
Apple's market share for the quarter was 50 percent, followed by 26 percent for Samsung, 11 percent for LG, 4 percent for Motorola and 2 percent for HTC, according to CIRP's figures. Nokia had 2 percent of the sales, while Amazon had 1 percent. Blackberry sales did not even reach 1 percent for the quarter, according to the figures.
Apple's figures were up over the third quarter of 2014 because of the September 2014 launch of the new iPhone 6 devices, according to CIRP. For most of the third quarter, buyers held off buying Apple phones in anticipation of the newest devices, CIRP added.
The fourth-quarter numbers also showed Apple slightly increasing its market share from the same period in 2013, when it had 48 percent of U.S. sales, according to CIRP. "More telling, Samsung saw its share fall from 31 percent in the October-December 2013 quarter, evidently giving up sales to LG, whose share increased from 8 percent in the October-December 2013 quarter."
CIRP's research is based on a survey of 500 U.S. users from Dec. 27, 2014, to Jan. 5, 2015, who activated a new or used phone in the October-December 2014 period.
"By every measure, Apple's 2014 phone launch was a success," Lowitz said. "iPhones drew from loyal Apple customers, with 86 percent of buyers upgrading from an older iPhone. Samsung and LG saw far lower loyalty rates, with 25 percent of Samsung owners and 18 percent of LG owners who activated a phone in the quarter switching to an iPhone."
Mike Levin, CIRP's other co-founder, told eWEEK that the latest figures showed that Apple's latest iPhones did somewhat better than their iPhone 5S and 5C smartphones after they were launched, and much better than the iPhone 5 when it was launched some two years ago.
Earlier in January, data from Counterpoint Research showed that Apple iPhone sales hit a major high point in November 2014, when the company marked 20 million global iPhone sales in one month for the first time. Adding to that success, the company also hit higher-than-expected iPhone sales in Japan and Korea, where new sales records were set for those regions.
Counterpoint's Monthly Market Pulse market share data is based on sales data reported by major mass retailers and distributors across 33 different national markets, as well as research and surveys conducted by Counterpoint analysts.
The new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones were a big hit during the first weekend of sales in September 2014, when the company sold more than 10 million devices after their debut, setting a new all-time record for first-weekend iPhone sales since the smartphones first hit the market back in June 2007.
The new iPhones include the iPhone 6, with its 4.7-inch Retina HD display, and an even larger iPhone 6 Plus, with its 5.5-inch Retina HD screen. The new devices arrived in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB storage capacities. The new phones include an Apple-designed A8 chip with second-generation 64-bit desktop-class architecture, enhanced iSight and FaceTime HD cameras, and the latest iOS 8 operating system.