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iPhone 6s, 6s Plus Didn’t Prevent Apple From Losing Q4 Market Share

Apple lost U.S. smartphone share in the fourth quarter of last year despite the September launch of the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) found.

In the fourth quarter of 2015, Apple accounted for 41 percent of cellphone activations, down from the year-ago 50 percent that followed the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launches. (See chart below.)

“As in prior years, in the first full quarter of the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, iOS increased its share of activations relative to earlier in 2015,” said CIRP partner Josh Lowitz. “Yet, it was not as strong a launch as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in [the fourth quarter of] 2014, when iOS dominated activations and had its highest share since the December 2012 quarter following the launch of the iPhone 5.”

Also in the fourth quarter of 2015, Android increased its share of activations, accounting for 58 percent of activations compared with the year-ago 41 percent.

In breaking out activations by brand, CIRP found that Apple retained its lead in fourth-quarter activation share, hitting 41 percent. Samsung was second at 36 percent, up from the year-ago 26 percent. LG maintained its share at 10 percent, comparable to its year-ago 11 percent share, CIRP said.

It looks like Apple, Samsung and LG “have settled in as the dominant manufacturers in the U.S. marketplace,” said CIRP partner Mike Levin. “Shares vary as Android users switch among Samsung, LG, and other manufacturers, and as Apple launches new models,” he said, but “shares have remained more stable in 2015 than in previous years.”

CIRP based its findings on a January 1-7 survey of 500 people who activated a new or used phone in the October-December 2015 period.