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Strong sales of iPhone SE have helped Apple claw back some ground on Android in the smartphone space, says new market data. But Google’s platform remains the dominant force…

iOS returned to growth in the US and EU5 in the second quarter of 2016, say new figures from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

The stats reveals Apple’s platform accounting for 31.8 per cent of sales in the US and 18.2 per cent in the big five European countries (Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain).

This is a reverse on the long term trend of slight iOS decline. And it should be stated that Android is growing even faster in most regions.

For example, in EU5 iOS gained by 0.7 per cent in the year from June 2015 to June 2016, while Android rose 5.5 per cent to 76.8 per cent over the same time frame.

iOS saw the biggest rises in GB and France (3.1 and 3.4 per cent respectively), but lost share in China.

Android gained everywhere except the US. Here, iOS grew 1.3 percentage points year-over-year, accounting for 31.8 per cent of smartphone sales in the second calendar quarter of 2016.

Android accounted for 65.5 per cent of smartphone sales, which represented a small decline from 66.1 per cent a year ago.

Kantar believes the launch of the iPhone SE has given Apple a boost. It says the mid-price device was the top selling handset in the UK in the quarter at 9.2 per cent of sales, followed by the iPhone 6s at 9.1 per cent.

The slight iOS decline in China pushed Apple behind the top two device makers Huawei (25.7 per cent) and Xiaomi (18.5 per cent). During the monitored period. 17.9 per cent of smartphone sales were iOS, a drop of 1.8 percentage points from 19.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2015.

Kantar believes the third quarter will be unpredictable for Apple. Typically anticipation for the new iPhone, usually released in September, serves to depress sales.

But the SE remains a novelty and a draw for budget-minded buyers, and Kantar says sales data shows that 49 per cent of US iPhone owners and 51 per cent of Chinese iPhone owners own an iPhone 5s or older.

So there’s plenty of opportunity to upgrade these consumers to the latest devices.