Q: What’s “market share”?

A: The useful online glossary at investorwords.comprovides a good definition: “The percentage of the total sales of a given type of product or service that are attributable to a given company.”

Consider smartphone operating systems, for example.

According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, in the United States, Apple’s iOS recently held a 53 percent share of the market (up from 36 percent a year ago), vs. 42 percent for Android, 3 percent for Windows and less than 2 percent for BlackBerry OS.

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Recent global data from IDC for “smart” connected devices (which include smartphones, PCs and tablets) has Samsung with 22 percent share, followed by Apple at 15 percent, Lenovo at 7 percent, HP at 5 percent and Sony at 4 percent.

When assessing a company’s market share, it’s important to look at growth rates, too, along with profitability and the sustainability of those growth rates.

Checking out current market share and market-share trends can be useful when researching a company or an industry.