New quarterly data ranks iPhone high in China & US despite challenging conditions

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iPhone loyalty is at its strongest point in the U.S. since 2012, and despite numerous obstacles in China, Apple has managed to reclaim a position as the bestselling smartphone brand in that region, according to a new December-quarter research report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

The company now has 27.1 percent share of the Chinese smartphone market, and the top three selling models, Kantar said on Wednesday. The iPhone is facing threats from a number of directions, including a troubled local economy and Android phonemakers like Huawei and Xiaomi. During a conference call on Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that the company is beginning to face a tougher time in Greater China, particularly Hong Kong.

The company's U.S. share reached 39.1 percent during the quarter. Android, however, made progress in both the U.S. and the "big five" European markets (Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain), advancing to 59 and 71 percent, respectively.

Apple's customer acqusition from Android also declined year-over-year from 13 percent to 11 percent. Simultaneously, the contribution of first-time smartphone buyers to iPhone sales dropped from 20 percent to 11 percent.

Althouh Apple recorded its most financially successful quarter ever on Tuesday, iPhone sales grew compartively little year-over-year. The company in fact guided to its first-ever iPhone sales decline in the March quarter, though it has tried to assuage fears by pointing out the decline would be relative to unexpectedly high sales from a year ago.