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Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Kantar Worldpanel statistics show Apple making huge gains in smartphone market share, with the UK more iOS-friendly than ever before

Apple capped off a spectacular last three months of 2014 by taking huge chunks out of its rival Samsung in key markets around the world, analyst figures have revealed.

The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel found that Apple’s share of sales grew across the US, Europe and China during the important Christmas period, driven by a strong portfolio of devices.

Most notably, iOS overtook Android for the first time in the United States, Apple’s biggest market, as it took advantage of the lack of premium Android devices. The study found that the iPhone 6 was the most popular smartphone gifted over Christmas 2014, with the Samsung Galaxy S5 in second place.

“With a range of devices available at different price points in both contract and pre-pay Apple was able to take advantage of a weaker Android offering at the premium end of the market,” said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

ios-vs-androidApple Of My Eye

In the UK, iOS gained 13.1 percentage points at the expense of its competitors, with the iPhone 6 taking the title of the best-selling smartphone in Britain, capturing 20 percent of overall smartphones sales and the Galaxy S5 second with 8 percent.

Android now controls 50.5 percent of the British market, down 7.5 percent from last year, with iOS growing to 42 percent and Windows Phone in third with 6.6 percent, a 3 percent drop for Microsoft’s mobile platform.

Fuelled by the adoption of the iPhone 6 Plus, sales of smartphones with a screen of 5.5in or higher reached 9 percent up, from 3 percent in Q4 2013. This co-ordinates with analyst reports last week that predicted sales of such ‘phablet’ devices are set to increase five-fold over the next five years.

group on smartphone ©andersr/shutterstock.comTakeover

Overall, smartphone penetration reached 59 percent in the US and 67 percent across Europe’s top five economies while emerging markets such as Brazil (35 percent) and Mexico (37 percent) still have a long way to go.

“As the opportunity to attract first-time smartphone buyers in developed economies diminishes, retaining loyal customers is becoming as important as winning them over from competing platforms,” Milanesi concluded.

The continuing growth means that the number of smartphones across the world will soon outnumber people. Figures released by mobile body the GSMA last year revealed that the number of mobile devices across the world has now surpassed the human population to hit 7.2 billion, serving the 3.6 billion unique mobile subscribers currently active across the world.

What do you remember about the smartphones of 2014? Try our quiz!

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