KEY POINTS

  • Nearly five out of six mobile users in the US now have a smartphone, and almost all of those users are on iOS or Android phones. About 95% of the total 197.4 million smartphone owners in the US are on either the Android platform or the iOS platform.
  • Apple had another stunning holiday quarter in the US. The tech giant was able to gain a significant number of new smartphone subscribers in the US during the fourth quarter of 2015. The company grew its market share at the expense of BlackBerry's and Microsoft's operating systems.
  • On the vendor side, Samsung actually lost market share among vendors in the US smartphone market during the past year. Its share declined 1.3 percentage points YoY to 56.1 million subscribers at the end of December 2015. 
  • The Chinese smartphone market is saturated. Last year's growth rate of 1.8% was a massive slowdown from 2014, a year in which shipments grew by just over 20%. In 2016, smartphone penetration is expected to rise four percentage points to 47%, leaving smartphone makers with fewer first-time smartphone buyers to sell to. Instead they will have to focus on users upgrading devices.
  • Android still dominates in China. The platform held a 71.4% share of the sales market in Q4 2015. Nevertheless, Android ceded 5.6 percentage points of market share to Apple during the year, one of the company’s most significant contractions in recent years.
  • India surpassed the US to become the world's second-largest smartphone market in 2015. Growth is explosive in the Indian smartphone market, and competition among vendors, both domestic and foreign, is gaining steam.
  • As the market in China slows, many Chinese vendors are looking abroad to India to make inroads into the country's burgeoning smartphone market. A number of prominent Chinese vendors that sell low-end phones have started selling devices in India. Meanwhile, Samsung, HTC, and Apple have emerged as contenders for the high-end device market. 

This report takes a country-by-country look at the smartphone market. To understand how shipments, vendor, and platform wars are playing out at the global level, read our companion report — THE GLOBAL SMARTPHONE REPORT: Forecasts, vendor and platform wars, and the new high-growth markets » 

Our estimates are based on our ongoing tracking of the smartphone industry and take into account shipments numbers from IDC, Strategy Analytics, Canalys, and Counterpoint [...]