The analysis examined global smartphone sales for the fourth quarter of 2014, a traditionally crucial quarter for tech companies because of the holiday shopping season.

The researchers found that the popularity of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus powered Apple to increase sales in Europe and China as well.

“While the success of the iPhone 6 and 6Plus is unprecedented, this quarter’s performance also points to Apple having its strongest portfolio ever,” noted Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, in the report. “With a range of devices available at different price points in both contract and pre-pay Apple was able to take advantage of a weaker Android offering at the premium end of the market.”

Apple’s victory over Android was a razor-thin 0.1 percent margin, but sales for the Cupertino, California, company’s devices grew by 6.2 percent in Europe compared to the same period in 2013. In Great Britain, sales grew 13.1 percent year-over-year; Italy was the only Eurozone nation that saw growth for Android sales.

Smartphone penetration is reaching new heights as well. The researchers claim 59 percent of Americans who are on a mobile plan own a smartphone, while penetration is at 67 percent across the largest economies in Europe.

In emerging countries, though, those numbers are a lot lower – smartphone penetration in Mexico sits at 37 percent, and at 35 percent for Brazil. For smartphone manufacturers, those markets are ripe for establishing brand loyalty.    

“As the opportunity to attract first-time smartphone buyers in developed economies diminishes, retaining loyal customers is becoming as important as winning them over from competing platforms,” Milanesi continued. “Apple’s average customer loyalty of 87 percent across the U.S. and Europe certainly looks promising,” she added.

Anadolu Agency