NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Oct 7, 2015) - The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech for the three months ending August 2015 shows that 47% of the smartphones sold in the U.S. were linked to installment plans. During this same period, smartphone purchases connected to traditional contracts, once the bulk of such transactions, represented only 20% of sales. The remaining 33% was made up of prepaid plans.

"Ever since U.S. carriers began experimenting with installment plans and no-contract options designed to transition customers away from traditional two-year contracts with subsidized phones, there has been concern that high-end smartphone sales would suffer," reported Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. "Our most recent dataset dispels the fear that the new plans would negatively impact high-end device sales. Looking at all installment or no-contract plans associated with iPhones, 55% were for an iPhone 6, and 22% were for an iPhone 6 Plus. These two devices account for 68% and 9% of traditional contracts, respectively. When it comes to Samsung's products on installment or no-contract, the Galaxy S6 made up 36% of sales, while the Galaxy S6 Edge accounted for 12%. In the case of traditional contracts, these devices accounted for 28% and 5%, respectively."

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In the three months ending August 2015, 51% of iOS sales were associated with installment or no-contract plans, 37% were on a traditional contract, and 12% were on prepaid plans. For Android, 46% of sales were on installment plans or no-contract, 15% were on traditional contract, and 39% were prepaid.

"Apple recently launched an upgrade plan in the U.S. that allows buyers of the latest iPhone models the option to get a new phone every 12 months. Given that only 8% of iPhone sales went directly through Apple in the three months ending in August, this program might not be the threat to carriers some imagined, but it will offer Apple a way to strengthen its relationship with customers. The program also will help Apple get more of the previous generation's devices into the refurbished market," Milanesi concluded.

In the three months ending in August 2015, iOS share was at its lowest point in the US since August 2014, as consumers waited for the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus to become available in September.

"It is to be expected that in the three months preceding the launch of the new products, Apple iPhone sales would be weaker," reported Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. "While a month from now may still be too early to report initial sales numbers for the new models, we can say today that 11% of iOS owners told us in August that they plan to replace their current phone in the next three months, and 87% of these have told us that Apple is their preferred brand."

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Kantar Worldpanel is the world leader in consumer knowledge and insights, based on continuous consumer panels. Its High Definition Inspiration™ approach combines market monitoring, advanced analytics, and tailored market research solutions that inspire successful actions by its clients. Kantar Worldpanel's expertise about what people buy or use -- and why -- is recognized by brand owners, retailers, market analysts, and government organisations globally.

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