NEW YORK Research firm Strategy Analytics says the launch of the iPhone 5 and the declining popularity of non-smartphones made Apple (AAPL) the biggest seller of phones in the U.S. in last year's holiday season, for the first time.
The firm estimates that Apple shipped 17.7 million iPhones of all kinds to U.S. buyers in the October to December period, meaning it accounted for one in three new phones.
Samsung Electronics of Korea was close behind, shipping 16.8 million phones, including non-smart ones. Samsung has been the largest seller of phones to the U.S. market since 2008, Strategy Analytics said.
Worldwide, Samsung is still the biggest phone vendor, according to another research firm, IDC. Apple is number three, with 9.9 percent of the market.