Latest data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, a leading research organisation focusing on consumer knowledge and insights on consumer products, shows that Apple has increased its share of the UK smartphone market to 30.9 per cent in the past 12 weeks of sales. Its share in the same period last year was 21.4 per cent.

ComTech releases these figures after tracking purchase, source of purchase, mobile phone bills/airtime and phone usage.

Apple iPhone looks like the preferred item this Christmas among Britons.

"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. However, this trend is far from universal, with sales in Germany and France somewhat underwhelming. In fact, in Germany, Android achieved a dominant 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," says Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director.

The UK's smartphone market is highly competitive, sales have gone up by 71.5 per cent in the past 12 weeks. This means 47.3 per cent of the British population now owns a smartphone.

Different brands are luring consumers to push their sales and increase their market shares.

Android, Google's operating system, has the highest market share in the UK (almost 50 per cent). The second and third top competitors are BlackBerry (22.5 per cent) and Apple (18.5 per cent).

Across Europe, Android is the number one market leader, but the handset manufacturers are fighting out to push their sales. Android is used by Samsung, HTC and host of other brands.

Due to their attractive price range, HTC smartphones are the most popular Android devices in the UK. HTC has maintained a market share of 44.8 per cent of Android sales in the past 12 weeks.

Samsung is catching up with sales of Galaxy SII and Ace handsets. Sony Ericsson handset is squeezed in the competition with sales dropping to 8.5 per cent between September- October this year. Last year, during the same period, its share was 20.5 per cent.

"Typically Christmas gifting in the mobile market doesn't really get started until December. Last year just under a third of all phones bought were given as presents and this figure rose to 46 per cent in December 2010. Blackberry handsets were the most popular, making up 40 per cent of the smartphones bought as gifts last December. We think this trend will be repeated in 2011. In fact, 55 per cent of Blackberrys sold this November were bought as gifts," says Sunnebo.

The study also notes that the smartphone competition is getting stronger in fast-growing economies like Brazil.