Apple Captured 50 Percent Of U.S. Smartphone Activations In Q4 2014

With all due respect to the late Steve Jobs and all that he accomplished in his lifetime, he was flat out wrong about the size of smartphones. Tim Cook knew it, and after Jobs passed away, Cook began inflating the screen size of the iPhone, culminating in the iPhone 6 (4.7 inches) and iPhone 6 Plus (5.5 inches). In doing so, half of the smartphone activations in the U.S. during the final quarter of 2014 belonged to Apple. Coincidence?

Not at all. According to data provided by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, LLC (CIRP), Apple saw a sharp rise in activations in the fourth quarter, going from 28 percent in prior period to 50 percent at the end of the year. And the iPhone 6 played a huge role in that sales surge.

iPhone 6 Plus

"Because of the iPhone launch, Apple increased its share considerably over the 28 percent in the July-September quarter," said Mike Levin, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP. “For most of the earlier quarter, buyers held off buying Apple phones in anticipation of the launch. Apple also increased its share slightly from the October-December 2013 quarter, when it had 48 percent of sales. More telling, Samsung saw its share fall from 31 percent in the October-December 2013 quarter, evidently giving up sales to LG, whose share increased from 8 percent in the October-December 2013 quarter."

Anticipation for the iPhone 6 hurt the competition, with Apple notching nearly twice as many smartphone activations in the U.S. than Samsung in the fourth quarter of 2014, and five times more than LG. According to CIRP, no other brand accounted for as much as 5 percent of U.S. during the quarter, underscoring the rabid demand not only for a new iPhone, but ones with bigger size displays.

Breaking the numbers down even further, CIRP says that 86 percent of iPhone buyers in the fourth quarter upgraded from an older iPhone device.