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Nielsen: 56% Smartphone Buyers Choose Android and 28% iPhone

Among new smartphone buyers — “acquirers” in Nielsen perlance — 56 percent chose an Android handset in August. Among all phone buyers: 43 percent. iPhone was 28 percent for both categories. “The preferences of these so-called recent acquirers are important as they are often a leading indicator of where the market is going”, Don Kellogg, director of Telecom Research & Insights, explains in a blog post.

Nilesen reports Apple iOS remains popular in second place with 28 percent of all smartphone users, and the same percentage among those who recently got a new device. “But those figures could change quickly in the months to come”, Kellogg asserts. “Every time Apple launches a new iPhone or makes it available on a new wireless carrier, there is an increase in their sales”. That’s certainly true, but an increase in sales doesn’t necessarily correspond to a bump in market share or massive change in overall new buyer purchases.

Changes in share aside, the smartphone pie is getting bigger. While 43 percent of all mobile subscribers in the US had a smartphone as of August, 56 percent of those who got a new device in the last 3 months chose a smartphone over a feature phone.

During second quarter 2010, iPhone subscriber share among new acquirers was 23 percent — down from 34 percent two quarters earlier, according to Nielsen. During the same time frame, Android share rose from 6 percent to 27 percent. iPhone 4 launched late in Q2 2010. At the end of August 2010, after more than two full months of iPhone 4 sales, iPhone share among new buyers had risen by only 2 points — to 25 percent. By comparison, Android was 32 percent, so up 9 points.

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