02/04/2015 11:08 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Android and iOS Control 95% of US Mobile Phone Market

Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Launch Drive iOS Gains

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) released analysis of the results of its research on mobile phone operating systems for the calendar quarter that ended December 31, 2014. This analysis features findings about consumer trends in mobile phone operating systems in the US from October-December 2014.

CIRP finds that the two major mobile operating systems, Google Android and Apple iOS, together controlled 95% of US customer mobile phone activations (Chart 1). Confirming anecdotal accounts, the other operating systems, Windows and Blackberry, and basic phones had very small shares, together accounting for the remaining 5%.

Chart 1: Operating System Share of US Activations Q4-2014

In each of the past four quarters, Android and iOS have combined to capture 95% of the US mobile phone market. Android has a greater share in three out of four quarters, but in the first full quarter following an iPhone launch, iOS increases its share of activations dramatically. This quarter' 50%-to-45% edge for iOS is a slight improvement over the 48% for iOS and 45% for Android margin in the October-December 2013 quarter.

In the past couple of years, Android's margin over iOS has been greatest in the third calendar quarter, as iOS buyers wait for the launch of a new iPhone. Android market share peaked at 67% in the third quarter of 2014 compared to the iOS share of 28%. So, the reversal in the fourth quarter after the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch was significant. If annual patterns persist, we expect Android to have a greater share in the first quarter of 2015.

Once again, outside of iOS and Android, other operating systems don't really register. Windows and even basic phones have a greater share of activations than Blackberry, but the shares for all of these fall within a margin of sampling error.

CIRP bases its findings on a survey of 500 US subjects, from January 1-12, 2015, that activated a new or used phone in the October-December 2014 period. For additional information, please contact CIRP.