Apple's iPhone 6 dents Android's crown

iPhone boosts Apple's mobile market share
iPhone boosts Apple's mobile market share

Android's share of the smartphone market has shrunk in the U.S. for the first time since 2013, according to new research, as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus helped Apple's iOS make market-share gains around the world.

The market share of Android -- the mobile operating software developed by Google – fell by 2 percentage points, year-on-year, in the U.S. over the three months ending November 2014, according to Kantar Worldpanel on Wednesday.

It also slipped by over 3 percentage points across Europe's five biggest countries, and tanked by 6.7 percentage points in the U.K.

Dominic Sunnebo, the strategic insight director at Kantar, predicted more gains for Apple in the future due to the popularity of its newest iPhone models.

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"The longer the new iPhone models are on the market the more their appeal will extend beyond Apple's loyal customers," he said in a press release.

Officially released in stores in September, sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus across the world topped 10 million in on the first weekend, according to Apple, managing to eclipse the launch figures of the previous 5S and 5C models.

Customers switching from Android to iOS – Apple's iOS -- remains stable at 18 percent, according to the Kantar, although it was especially pronounced in certain regions.

Between September and November 2014, Apple's share of the market grew to 42.5 percent in the U.K -- a growth rate of 12.2 percentage points year-on-year.

In the U.S., Apple accounted for 47.4 percent of sales, 4.3 percentage points higher than during the same period in 2013. Meanwhile in China, Apple sales increased by 1.1 percentage points, bringing Apple's share of the smartphone market to 18.1 percent.

"Android fatigue is setting in," Neil Mawston, mobile analyst at Strategy Analytics, told CNBC via email. "Android, rather like Symbian a few years ago, has become too popular for its own good."

Will Apple rot or ripen this year?
Will Apple rot or ripen this year?

Mawston argued in November 2014 that Android's market share could have peaked, suggesting that some device manufacturers no longer wanted to put all their eggs in one "Android basket." Instead, some were searching for alternative platforms to work with, such as Microsoft or Firefox, according to Mawston.

However, it might not be all bad news for Android and its ecosystem, which still dominates in every region except Japan, according to the data.

Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel, stressed that Android (unlike iOS) is used by a range of brands, and it is these consumers driving the different fortunes for each of the players in the ecosystem.

Thus, Kantar's research showed that Samsung - which uses Android - was seeing some sales pressure and market share decline, but Motorola's - which also uses Android - share grew thanks to the Moto X and Moto G models "offering good value for the money."