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iPhone users made up 42% of smartphone owners in the U.S., up from 35% before the holidays

The release of two new iPhones designed for high-end and budget-conscious consumers helped Apple significantly grow its marketshare during the fourth quarter of 2013 and widen the gap over close rival Samsung in the U.S.

Owners of the iPhone made up 42% of smartphone owners in the U.S. during the months of September and November, up from 35% during the same frame in 2012, according to the NPD Group. Samsung’s Android-powered devices came in at 26%, up from 22%.

While LG also saw gains for new handsets like the G2, devices from HTC, Blackberry, and the Google-owned Motorola all declined during the period.

The numbers are slightly skewed since they do not account for sales that took place in December, with the holidays traditionally the peak buying season for new cell phones, said NPD, which surveyed 4,500 smartphone users in the U.S. for the study. (See below chart).

What’s impressive — and a key figure for content owners looking to distribute entertainment on mobile devices — is that smartphones made up 60% of all cell phones carried by U.S. consumers in the fourth quarter, up from 52%, NPD said.

Apple introduced its iPhone 5S and more affordable and colorful 5C in early September. The company sold a record 9 million smartphones in the three days after they went on sale in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., China, Japan and six other countries.

SEE ALSO: Apple Rivals Ready to Pounce with Trash Talk After Reveal of New iPhones

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