Google's versatile Android OS continued to increase its share of smartphones, while Sprint and Samsung also saw increases over the last year for the 3 month period ending February 2013.
According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, with more than half (51.2%) of smartphone sales, Android experienced 5.8% growth compared to the same period last year.
Meanwhile, iOS remains in second place with 43.5% of smartphone sales, down for a consecutive period, by 3.5% versus last year. Windows continued to make gains, up to 4.1% of smartphone sales.
As expected, the top carrier remained Verizon with 35% of smartphones sold in the 3 months ending February 2013. While AT&T remained in second place, Sprint increased, now representing 15% of smartphones sold (up 2.1% pts).
"Last month we saw that Android’s increases were thanks to a large increase in Samsung sales within Sprint," explained Kantar Worldpanel ComTech analyst Mary-Ann Parlato.
"This month, while the increases for Samsung are less pronounced, we’re still seeing an increase in uptake of the brand, which is now impacting on Sprint’s overall share in smartphone sales."
According to Parlato, it was Samsung’s price drop at the back end of 2012 that prompted various smartphone and featurephone users to upgrade to a Samsung device.
"Of those who changed their phone over the last year to a Samsung smartphone, 19% had previously owned a Samsung featurephone, 15% owned a HTC smartphone, 14% owned an LG featurephone, 10% owned a Samsung smartphone and 9% owned a BlackBerry," said Parlato.
"It’s apparent that Samsung is successful at capturing users from across the competitor set and not just gaining from their own loyalists, (albeit loyalty towards Samsung has also grown)."
And naturally, it was the figurehead Samsung devices doing well during this period. Of those who purchased a Samsung in the last year, 52% purchased a Galaxy S III, 21% a Galaxy S II and 5% a Galaxy Note II. And compared to purchasers of other brands, Samsung purchasers were more likely to cite "handset cost" and "carrier brand" as key drivers.
"So while price drops on Sprint have helped the carrier, as well as Samsung and Android gain further success this 3 month ending period, share growth for other brands was also more pronounced this month. Brands Motorola and Nokia in particular saw very slight increases within smartphone sales," she added.