New data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech ( shows that in the latest 12 weeks of sales Apple has increased its share of the British smartphone market from 21.4% a year ago to 30.9%.

“In Great Britain, the US and Australia, Apple’s new iPhone continues to fly off the shelf in the run up the Christmas, reversing the share losses seen during much of 2011,” says Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director. “However, this trend is far from universal, with sales in Germany and France somewhat underwhelming.”

In fact, in Germany, Android achieved a dominant 61% share of smartphone sales in the latest 12 weeks, with the Samsung Galaxy S II the top selling handset, according to Kantar. The success of the new iPhone in Britain has meant that O2 — which has by far the highest proportion of existing iPhone owners — has benefited the most, taking 36.1% of all iPhone sales in the past 12 weeks. However, this hasn’t had a dramatic impact on the number of O2 customers, as the majority of iPhone sales have come from existing O2 iPhone 3GS customers, the research group says.

“Typically Christmas gifting in the mobile market doesn’t really get started until December,” adds Dominic. “Last year just under a third of all phones bought were given as presents and this figure rose to 46% in December 2010.”

Smartphones made up 71.5% of sales over the 12 weeks, meaning that 47.3% of the British population now owns a smartphone.