Apple's iPhone Accounts for 4 out of 10 Smartphones in the U.S.

In the U.S. smartphone market, it's relatively slim pickings for companies not named Apple or Samsung. According to the latest data by NPD Group, Apple and Samsung now collectively account for 68 percent of all smartphones in the U.S., which works out to better than six-in-ten smartphones. That's up from a 52 percent penetration rate in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Apple is the biggest winner with a 42 percent share of the market, up from 35 percent one year ago. Samsung, which mostly builds Android devices (while also dabbling in Windows Phone territory), increased its share from 22 percent a year ago to 26 percent currently.

iPhone Pocket
Image Source: Flickr (twicepix)

With smartphones becoming so commonplace, data usage is on the rise. According to NPD Group, the average user went from consuming 5.5GB of data per month in Q4 2012 to 6.6GB per month in Q4 2015, a 1.1GB jump. Streaming music plays a large role in data usage, with Pandora leading the way followed by iHeart Radio, Spotify, TuneIn Radio, and Slacker Radio rounding out the top 5 music apps used on smartphones.

"Considering the increase in prominence of smartphone music apps, it’s not surprising that hardware manufacturers such as Beats are leveraging partnerships with carriers, like AT&T to break into the streaming music market," said John Buffone, Executive Director, Industry Analyst, Connected Intelligence. "This allows AT&T to offer subscribers more of what they want in the way of innovative music apps and provides Beats a partner capable of driving trial in a market where consumers already have an affinity for the music services they use."

Going forward, expect more of the same, though Microsoft is reportedly gearing up to spend billions of dollars getting device makers to adopt its Windows Phone platform.