Android Devices Gain Market Share in U.S., Fall in Europe

Samsung's latest Galaxy S6 smartphones helped the company gain market share since their April debut, becoming the third best-selling phone in the U.S.

Samsung Galaxy S6, iPhone 6, smartphones, market share, iOS,

Android smartphones gained 2.9 percentage points of market share in the United States in the three months ending May 31, helping Android-powered devices grab 64.9 percent of the U.S. market so far this year, according to the latest figures from research firm Kantar Worldpanel Com Tech.

At the same time, Android market share fell in Europe by 2.9 percentage points compared with the same period one year ago, where it is not showing the improvement being seen in the U.S., according to Kantar's research, which was released on June 30. Europe's five largest markets are Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

The upswing in U.S. Android sales comes since Samsung's release of its latest Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones, which were aimed to take on the latest Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones that have been reaping huge sales since their introduction in September 2014.

"The first full month of sales of the Galaxy S6 allowed Samsung to regain the market lead in the U.S. and grow its share of Android sales from 52 percent in the three months ending in April to 55 percent for the three months ending in May," Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel, said in a statement. "Samsung's share of the U.S. smartphone market grew period-over-period, as the Galaxy S6 became the third best-selling smartphone in the U.S., after the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S5."

In addition, the latest figures show that Samsung's year-over-year performance also improved, according to Milanesi, with the company's U.S. market share now down by 0.5 percentage points compared with a 1.6 percentage point drop in the three months ending in April.

The rise in Android market share was also helped along by sales of phones by LG, wrote Milanesi, while "the momentum of iOS slowed as share declined, both period-over-period and year-over-year." LG showed an Android phone market share increase that was almost double its share of the U.S. smartphone market since 2014, she wrote.

"Other tier-one Android players, such as HTC and Motorola, had a more difficult period, with their share decreasing both year-over-year and period-over-period, raising hopes for competitors—such as Huawei and Sony, who have yet to wow U.S. consumers—that share could be up for grabs," wrote Milanesi.

Meanwhile, in Europe demand for the latest iPhone 6 models remained strong, according to Kantar's research.

"Britain remains the iOS stronghold, forcing Android vendors to rely more on winning customers from Apple than from other Android players," Dominic Sunnebo, business unit director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe, said in a statement. "In the three months ending in May, only 5 percent of new Android buyers came from Apple, compared to 11 percent for the same period in 2014."

The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones went on sale in 20 countries, including in the United States, on April 10 to help the company battle against Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets. The Galaxy S6 Edge is a flashier model that features a bright display that wraps around both sides of the handset. Both S6 models include an all-metal chassis; a 5.1-inch, quad HD Super AMOLED display; and strong Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on both the front display and rear panel of the phones. Both new Galaxy S6 models also include Samsung's latest 14nm technology, 64-bit Exynos 7 processors, which have eight cores and use less power while providing higher performance.

Growing sales of the latest Galaxy phones is very important for Samsung, which continues to battle its way out of a slump caused by cheap smartphones from China and the release of the new and improved iPhone 6 models from Apple. Samsung has been losing market share and revenue to its rivals and is already in the midst of plans to pare back its model line and cut production costs to better compete, according to earlier eWEEK reports.

In late April, Samsung reported a $4.63 billion net profit for the first quarter of 2015, which is down 39 percent from the same quarter one year ago when the company had a $7.04 billion net profit. For the South Korean smartphone and electronics maker, it's been a disappointing trend downward that's been repeated often over the last several years. Revenue was also down for Samsung in Q1 at $43.8 billion, compared with $49.9 billion for the same quarter one year ago.

Samsung's Q1 figures do not yet include sales of the new Galaxy S6 phones, which will be reflected in the second-quarter earnings report.