In the three months ending November 2014, the impact of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch continued in the run up to Christmas with iOS growing its market share in all surveyed countries except for Japan where performance in 2013 had been boosted by the addition of NTT DoCoMo as a carrier partner.
Across Europe, Android remained the dominant OS with a market share of 69.9 per cent, although this is 3.2 percentage points lower than the same period in 2013.
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe, strategic insight director, Dominic Sunnebo, said Great Britain saw the strongest share decline for Android at 6.7 percentage points.
Apple's market share gain, triggered by the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch, continued into November when it reached 42.5 per cent of British sales for a growth of 12.2 percentage points year-on-year, mainly at the expense of Android.
Sunnebo said the longer the new iPhone models were on the market, the more their appeal would extend beyond Apple's loyal customers.
"For now, customer switching from Android to iOS remains stable at 18 per cent", he said.
In the US, Apple reached 47.4 per cent of sales, 4.3 percentage points higher than the same period in 2013.
The iPhone 6 was the best selling phone in the three months to November 2014, capturing 19 per cent of smartphone sales.
Verizon and AT&T made up 57 per cent of iOS sales while Verizon and T-Mobile were the top two carriers for Android accounting for 33.7 per cent of all Android smartphones sold.
In urban China, Android retained its leading position with a market share of 80.4 per cent.
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia strategic insight director, Tamsin Timpson, said the wide variety of products offered by local manufacturers continued to push Android's share.
"Xiaomi remains the biggest contributor to Android's success as it averaged 30.2 per cent of sales in the three months ending November, an astonishing 18 percentage point rise over 2013", She said.
Apple sales saw a small increase of 1.1 per cent, which brought Apple's share of the smartphone market in urban China to 18.1 per cent.
China Mobile remained Apple's main channel with sales through the largest Chinese carrier accounting for 63 per cent of Apple's overall sales.
Smartphone penetration reached 58 per cent in the US and 65 per cent across Europe's big five economies.
While die-hard featurephone owners state they are not planning to buy a smartphone in the next 12 months, they might not have a choice as vendors continue to transition their portfolio away from featurephones to smartphones.
Forty-seven percent of featurephone owners are looking to change their current device in the next 6 months in the US and 35 per cent across Europe top 5 are not planning to upgrade to a smartphone.
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech chief of research, Carolina Milanesi, said, While remaining the dominant global OS, Android's market share dropped in most European markets and in the US where the decline was the first since September 2013.
"A decline in Android market share does not necessarily translate into bad news for all the ecosystem's players," she said.
"The choice of brands and devices within the ecosystem empowers consumers to drive different fortunes for the players in it.
"In the three months ending November, Samsung particularly felt the pressure and saw its market share decline across Europe and in the US.
"By contrast Motorola's share grew thanks to the refresh of the Moto X and Moto G offering good value for the money."