The NPD Groupís recent report confirms what many other analysts and data firms have been saying for a while now: Apple and Samsung are the top smartphone brands in terms of growth. The combined unit sales rose 43% alone in the last year, from the second quarter of 2011 to the just finished second quarter of 2012. In the meantime, other smartphone markersí unit sales fell 16%. The firm said that Appleís market share is even better than Samsungís with a 31% share compared to Samsungís 24% in Q2. Others such as HTC, Motorola, and LG have 15%, 12%, and 6% market share respectively. Vice president of industry analysis at the NPD Group, Stephen Baker, had the following to say regarding the matter:

By concentrating on their best, flagship devices, while at the same time supplementing their volumes with lower priced alternatives, both Apple and Samsung are extending their lead over the other smartphone makers. To be a share leader means participating in all segments of the market, in order to take advantage of pre-paid and other growth opportunities, while also providing the hero devices that drive customers to your brand.
Another factor that is interesting here is the pre-paid smartphones, including the iPhone, that almost doubled in unit sales volumes this past quarter as compared to Q2 2011, rising 91% year-over-year. Here, it seems that Apple, along with various iPhone carriers, have capitalized on the trend by making the iPhone available as a pre-paid device. Baker had the following to say regarding pre-paid smartphones:

Prepaid smartphones are no longer just cheap, also-ran options, focused on older and less capable phones. 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.
An interesting bit of information from the NPDís monthly Mobile Phone Track service data shows that the income of the average consumer is shifting down to those individuals with lower overall incomes. The number of smartphone buyers with a household income of less than $35,000 per year rose in the second quarter (as compared to last yearís Q2) from 24% to 33%.

As the smartphone market continues to take off, itís likely these numbers will grow. Hopefully other companies rise to the challenge of making competitive devices, which would in turn benefit consumers the most.

Source: NPD Group via AppleInsider