The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge claimed 5.8 percent of U.S. smartphone sales in the first quarter despite not being released until March 11, according to fresh data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
The market research firm said the model was the fifth best-selling phone during the quarter even though it was available for only the last few weeks. That's a marked improvement over its predecessor, the Galaxy S6, which was the 10th best-selling smartphone with 3.2 percent of the market after its launch in the three months ending in April 2015, Kantar said.
Battery life was the top priority for buyers of Samsung's new flagship, with 53.5 percent of respondents in Kantar's survey citing it as the primary reason they chose the device. Nearly 51 percent of buyers said camera quality was an important feature -- substantially higher than the 33.5 percent of overall smartphone purchases for the period -- and 36.5 percent cited its storage capacity compared to 17.8 percent of all buyers.
But aggressive promotional campaigns by Samsung, its carrier partners and retailers played a major role in the new phone's success as well. Almost 40 percent of Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge buyers were influenced by an exclusive phone promotion or offer, 12.2 percent were influenced by a free or discounted product, 11 percent by a trade-in offer and 10.3 percent by free or discounted accessories.
"The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge appears to be one of the most heavily promoted phones ever," Kantar Mobile Analyst Lauren Guenveur wrote. "If you ordered an S7 before March 18th, you got a Gear VR and six VR games for free. AT&T and T-Mobile offered 'buy one, get one free' deals for a time. Best Buy included a Gear VR and a 64 GB SIM card with the purchase of an S7. For purchasers of the S7 at Costco this month, they'll get a 32-inch Samsung HD TV. And that's barely scraping the surface of the promotions and trade-ins available for this device."
Guenveur said she expects the Galaxy S7 to become the top-selling phone in the U.S. during the second quarter of the year, a feat the S6 failed to accomplish.
Meanwhile, a separate study by Kantar found that Android's market share increased during the first quarter in the U.S., urban China and five major European markets. Google's mobile operating system saw its share grow 7.1 percent to 75.6 percent in Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain; and it was up 7.3 percent to 65.5 percent in the U.S.
In China, Android's market share rose 6 percent to claim 77 percent of the market.
Interestingly, nearly 7 percent of new Android customers in Europe migrated from Windows, which had begun gaining ground in some of those markets until beginning to plummet roughly a year ago. Only 3.3 percent of new Android customers switched from Apple's iOS.
"This is the strongest growth for Android across the EU5 in more than two years," Guenveur wrote. "What's more, the growth is coming not just from one or two players, but from different brands and ecosystems, varying from region to region."
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