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Apple nabs 31.3 percent of smartphone sales at the start of 2016 holiday season

Apple is making some gains on Google’s Android mobile operating system and devices — a new report shows the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, and 6S were the three most popular smartphones in the U.S. at the start of the holiday period, with combined smartphone sales of 31.3 percent.

Close behind was Samsung, with 28.9 percent of smartphone sales thanks to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The duo were the fourth and fifth best-selling phones in the country, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. In the three months ending November, Android’s smartphone sales were down by 5.1 percent to 55.3 percent year-over-year — that is the “sixth consecutive period of decline in the U.S.”

Nearly a quarter of those smartphone sales in the U.S. came from Verizon during the week of Black Friday. The report says Google “made strong gains” with its new Pixel smartphone, which was released toward the end of October. Still, it only managed to capture 1.3 percent of smartphone sales in the last three months ending November — more than half of that was thanks to Verizon.

But it’s not all good news for Apple. In China, iOS fell to 19.9 percent of smartphone sales, down 5.4 percent from the same period in 2015. About 80 percent of all smartphones sold in China in the three-month period ending November were running Android.

Still, Apple’s iPhone 7 became the “best-selling device in urban China” with 6.6 percent of smartphone sales — Oppo, which made some gains with 12.9 percent, fell to second place with the R9 smartphone.

But Apple shined in Great Britain, grabbing an additional 9.1 percent of smartphone sales in the same period. In France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K., Android held 72.4 percent of smartphone sales in that period, with iOS holding on to 24.6 percent.

One thing to keep in mind here is that this may likely be the high point for Apple when it comes to market share, at least for this cycle. Given the company’s yearly refresh, it’s likely that a good number of consumers will start to hold off their purchases until the launch of the iPhone 8 series. That is expected this fall and from what we’ve been able to gather, it should be a fairly significant release.

Adding that Samsung should be able to recover from the Galaxy Note 7 debacle with the expected release of the Note 8 later this year, you would think Android will recover thanks to its biggest manufacturing partner quite soon.