Apple’s iPhone has always proved to be a winner for the company with the high sales numbers during the holiday seasons.

There was no exception this year also and thanks to strong sales of the all new iPhone 5, the company’s mobile operating system, iOS, has managed to regain its lost glory by topping Google’s Android to become the leading smartphone operating system in the United States, according to a new research report.

Latest data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech based on smartphone sales over the past 12 weeks leading to Oct. 28 indicates that Apple iOS accounts for 48.1 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, compared with Android, which has a market share of 46.7 percent.

“The last time we saw iOS overtake Android in the US was when the iPhone 4S was released and Apple managed to retain its lead for three consecutive periods,” Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech said. “This time we predict that Apple will beat its previous high of 49.3% and achieve its highest ever share of the U.S. smartphone market within the next two periods.”

The report stated that with 48.1 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, Apple’s share in the domestic smartphone market rose to a whopping 25.7 percent from 22.4 percent during the same period last year.

The majority of U.S. iPhone 5 sales (62 percent) came from the existing Apple owners upgrading to the new device. The company also benefited from people switching from other devices (Android devices, 13 percent and BlackBerry devices 6 percent) and a small number of first time smartphone owners.

“Apple has always managed to maintain loyalty levels far above the competition, and this has clearly played a part in driving sales of its new device,” Sunnebo said. “An impressive 92% of existing Apple owners in the U.S. said they will choose an iPhone the next time they upgrade.”

“While loyalty is clearly key, it is also important to make sure that new customers are attracted to your brand. With roughly 60% of U.S. iPhone 5 sales coming from existing customers and 40% from new consumers, Apple is achieving this at the moment – a clear sign of the strength of the brand in the US marketplace,” Sunnebo added.

The research report also points out that although Apple iOS has managed to pull Android down from the No. 1 position in the U.S., it has not been replicated in the same way across Europe where Android is still the market leader. Android accounted for 73.9 percent of sales in Germany and 81.7 percent in Spain.

However, Apple is enjoying share gains in four of the five major European countries with a particularly strong performance in Britain where it holds a 32.7 percent market share. The company also did fairly well in Australia, accounting for 29.4 percent of the market.

The countries where Apple’s performance was relatively weak include Brazil (0.4 percent) and Spain (4 percent).