NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Google (GOOG - Get Report) Android-based smartphones continued their dominance in global sales, in the last quarter, as measured by operating systems. Newly released iOS models gave Apple (AAPL - Get Report) a boost in a number of markets while Microsoft's (MSFT - Get Report) Windows Phone saw small decreases in market share in the same time frame.
According to Kantar Worldpanel researchers, smartphones sales grew 35% year over year in the US in the quarter ending Sept. 30th, 2014. Android models made up for 61.8% of sales in this country. Despite Apple's overall share declining slightly during the quarter compared with the same period last year, the survey found that demand for the new iPhone 6 models was very healthy.
Strategic Insight Director and survey lead Dominic Sunnebo said, "Our latest data covers the first few days of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus being available it is clear that demand has been high for the eagerly awaited new models." In an email to TheStreet, Sunnebo noted, "Strong demand across both new iPhone models suggest Apple is going to be on track for a record breaking holiday season."
Apple's guidance for the all-important holiday season came in above Wall Street's estimates, helping spur a renewed interest in the company and its shares. The Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple expects to generate between $63.5 billion and $66.5 billion in revenue, with gross margins between 37.5% and 38.5%. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were $63.49 billion in revenue and $2.39 a share.
Apple shares were down 0.02% to $106.72 and Google shares off 0.04% to $548.69 in early trading in New York.
Kantar found U.S. market competition has been reinvigorated with both LG and Motorola increasing their shares. The recently launched LG G3 and Motorola Moto X are better positioned to compete with flagship products from Samsung (SSNLF) and HTC.
In Europe, Android continued its dominance with a 73.9% share of the smartphone market. Apple was second highest share with 15.4%, while Windows registered in third with 9.2% of the market. Kantar's "big 5" European markets include the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Across those five markets initial sales of the new iPhone models have overwhelmingly been from existing iPhone owners (87%). Kantar adds the iPhone 6 has outsold the larger iPhone 6 Plus by five-to-one margin in the major European markets.
In Great Britain, where the new iPhone models started shipping toward the end of the survey period (Sept. 19th), Apple saw its sales share up by 1.7% compared with the same period last year, taking iOS's overall share to 31% in that market.
In China, the world's largest smartphone market, Android phones registered a whopping 83.4% market share, The survey found that local brand Xiaomi continues to dominate. Its Xiaomi Red Rice 1S and Xiaomi Rice Note models were the two top selling smartphones over the past three months fueling it to a 30.3% market share, followed by Samsung (18.4%). iOS phones garnered a 15.2% market share in the quarter.
Kantar notes 16% of all smartphones sold in China over the past three months had a screen size of 5.5 inches or larger. Analysts believe it's a positive indicator that the iPhone 6 Plus, which will be released in time for the Chinese New Year holiday (Feb. 19th), is likely to be successful in that market as well.
-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.
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