Here’s Why the iPhone Remains on the THRONE

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone generated the most growth during the second quarter of the year and cornered nearly a third of the U.S. smartphone market, with Samsung some way behind. The two rivals, though, together dominated the domestic arena despite having only three phone models on sale, according to market research firm NPD. Sales for the two market leaders together grew 43 percent year-to-year, while sales for all other manufacturers combined to fall 16 percent.

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Apple’s U.S. smartphone share at the end of June was 31 percent, while its Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android rival Samsung managed 24 percent over the same period. HTC with 15 percent, Motorola with 12 percent, and LG with 6 percent rounded out the top five. Total smartphone sales rose nine percent in the second quarter, all of it driven by the 91 percent year-over-year rise in pre-paid sales as post-paid growth stayed stagnant.

“Prepaid smartphones are no longer just cheap, also-ran options, focused on older and less capable phones,” NPD’s Stephen Baker said. “As the smartphone market matures, and as growth slows, carriers have been smart to aggressively market some of their best current smartphones on a pre-paid basis to a new set of customers, in order to keep sales humming along.”

Smartphone buyers are also increasingly coming from below middle- and upper-income households. In the second quarter, 33 percent of buyers had an average household income of less than $35,000 per year, compared with 24 percent at the same time last year.

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