The NPD Group announced a report today that confirms what many other analysts and data firms have been saying for a while now: Apple and Samsung are the top smartphone brands in terms of growth. Samsung and Apple’s combined unit sales rose 43 percent in the last year, from the second quarter of 2011 to the just finished second quarter of 2012. Other smartphone makers’s unit sales fell 16 percent.
The firm said that Apple’s market share is even better than Samsung’s, with a 31 percent share, vs Samsung’s 24 percent market share in Q2. HTC, Motorola, and LG have 15, 12, and 6 percent market share, respectively.
“By concentrating on their best, flagship devices, while at the same time supplementing their volumes with lower priced alternatives, both Apple and Samsung are extending their lead over the other smartphone makers,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at The NPD Group. “To be a share leader means participating in all segments of the market, in order to take advantage of pre-paid and other growth opportunities, while also providing the hero devices that drive customers to your brand.”
Another interesting factor here is that pre-paid smartphones, including the iPhone, almost doubled in unit sales volumes this past quarter as compared to Q2 2011, rising 91 percent year-over-year. Seems like Apple, along with the various iPhone carriers, have capitalized on this trend by making the iPhone available as a pre-paid device.
“Prepaid smartphones are no longer just cheap, also-ran options, focused on older and less capable phones,” said Baker. “As the smartphone market matures, and as growth slows, carriers have been smart to aggressively market some of their best current smartphones on a pre-paid basis to a new set of customers, in order to keep sales humming along.”
The data from NPD’s monthly Mobile Phone Track service, which tracks consumer-level spending on mobile and smartphone units, shows that the income of the average consumer is shifting down to those individuals with lower overall incomes. The number of smartphone buyers with a household income of less than $35,000 per year rose in this year’s second quarter (as compared to last year’s Q2) from 24 to 33 percent..