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Samsung and Apple dominate U.S. phone sales with over 90% of postpaid market

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Apple and Samsung account for over 90% of phone sales at carriers in the U.S.
  • This was revealed after analysis firm Wave7 Research conducted a survey among the top four wireless carriers in the U.S. during the month of December.
  • The Google Pixel lineup accounted for 2-4% of sales while OnePlus was even lower with 2.3%.

When it comes to buying a new phone these days, consumers arguably have more choices than ever when it comes to choosing which brand to buy. Yet, the stats show that if you're buying a smartphone in the U.S., you're most likely going to buy one from Apple or Samsung.

Recently, analysis firm Wave7 Research published its findings after completing a survey with the top four carriers in the U.S. In the month of December 2019, the results revealed that over 90% of the time phones sold through the carrier were from either Apple or Samsung.

At AT&T stores, sales from the two juggernaut brands totaled 95%, while at Verizon and Sprint it was slightly less with 94% of sales. That leaves T-Mobile to bring up the rear with sales of Apple and Samsung phones only accounting for 91% of its phone sales.

Google Pixel 4 XL, Galaxy S10+ and OnePlus 7 Pro

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

The survey also revealed that Google's Pixel lineup of phones amounted to 2-4% of sales overall among the four major carriers, and OnePlus came in slightly lower with 2.3% in sales.

The reason these metrics are so important is that analysts say that 85-90% of phones sold on postpaid plans in the U.S. are sold through carriers — making it a good indicator of what is happening at the premium end of the market.

However, when it comes to prepaid phone sales, the story is a little different. That has to do with the fact that many prepaid customers don't often buy phones at the high-end of the market costing close to $1000 or more.

For example, at Boost the top four phones sold were still either an iPhone or Samsung phone, but the fifth most popular was the LG Stylo 5. While at Metro by T-Mobile, Wave7 reports that Samsung, LG, and Motorola are the top sellers. Regardless, prepaid customers only make up a fraction of the market when compared to postpaid subscribers.

7 Comments
  • Well, Samsung does give users a choice when it comes to models and references, but what else is there? at this point, Oneplus and Google were gonna be side players no matter what, and I understand that Huawei is a no go for US carriers, but what about Xiaomi or Oppo phones, are they part of US carriers' offering? I live in the UK, so this is not rhetorical.
  • At the locations in my town almost every phone on display is an iPhone or a Samsung phone. There might be 1 or 2 LG phones on display, but that's usually only at Sprint. Xaomi and Oppo have basically no presence where I'm at. Most people around here don't even know what a Pixel is.
  • No Oppo or Xiomi here. I'm pretty sure that the only people that know about them bought the OnePlus phones on T-Mobile.
  • Let's face facts in the so called Android v Apple thing only Samsung try and compete in full eco systems with tablets, watches etc Google can't be bothered in the tablet market or with a watch, I've said it a few times if it wasn't for Samsung id be in the Apple camp these days
  • I personally don't like just having 2 major players to choose from. a bit sad we've come do this. Once subsidies were stopped by the mobile operators at least in the US that pretty much hit the nail on the coffin for the smaller players.
  • Don't forget BlackBerry never stopped making smartphones!! I use a KEY2 every day and love it!
  • When was the last time blackberry was even in a phone store?