Analyst firms have already pored over smartphone industry figures for Q2 2013 — noting that top guns Apple and Samsung lost market share to lesser rivals — and now Kantar has released its sales figures for the US spanning the three-month period ending June 2013.

The Kantar Worldpanel ComTech report — compiled from 240,000 interviews per year in the US — puts Android on top for the third consecutive quarter. Android returns is back above 50 percent of sales after dropping to 49.3 percent in the previous report.

The Google-owned platform is estimated to hold a dominant 51.5 percent share of sales in the US, ahead of iOS on 42.5 percent. Windows Phone is the nearest challenger way back on 4 percent, ahead of BlackBerry on 1.1 percent.

In a boost for Microsoft and Nokia, Windows Phone was saw the largest increase in the US over the past 12 months, as sales vastly improved on the 2.9 percent Kantar estimated one year previously. The bulk of that is likely from Nokia’s Lumia series, but the Finnish firm still has much work to do in the US, as its Q2 2013 financial results showed and Windows Phone is down from 5.6 percent in the previous report (although ‘season’ factors also saw Apple’s share of sales drop sequentially.)

iOS improved its share of sales from 39.2 percent last year but Android declined slightly from 52.6 percent. BlackBerry’s crash continued as it slumped down from a then-third ranked to account for a meager 1.1 percent of US smartphone sales as of June 2013.

us smartphone share kantar Android top US smartphone platform with 52% of sales, Windows Phone charts highest growth: KantarOperator-wise, Kantar judged Verizon to have performed best during the period.

Verizon notched a 5 percent gain in sales over the past year, standing out as the only operator to grow its numbers. Sprint takes the wooden spoon for biggest loss, with Kantar estimating that its unit sales figure declined by 8.5 percent to reach 13.8 million units, as of June 2013.

us operator sahre kantar Android top US smartphone platform with 52% of sales, Windows Phone charts highest growth: Kantar

Kantar estimates that 40 percent of all iOS devices sold went through Verizon — fractionally ahead of the 39 percent attributed to AT&T — and it is estimated to have captured more Android- and Windows Phone-based sales too.

That’s a fact that the research firm puts down to increased sales among the carrier’s female customers and feature phones owners who upgraded to smartphones.

“Verizon continues to lead in this second quarter of 2013, driven by its ability to provide a range of highly demanded brands and models, which has ultimately led to the carrier capturing the most sales from all three top OS brands,” said Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Further research from the firm showed that Apple performed well over the last three months in the UK, where the discounted iPhone 4 proved to be a popular choice for consumers buying a smartphone for the first time.

Kantar found that more than one third of iPhone 4 units were bought by first-time smartphone owners, that’s comparatively more than the iPhone 5, for which one in ten customers were smartphone first-timers.

That finding jives with comments Apple CEO Tim Cook made on the firm’s Q2 2013 earnings call, in which he said that the iPhone 4 was performing well, particularly in emerging markets like India.

Headline image via zallio / Flickr