Smartphone penetration has increased substantially year-on-year in the UK – with Samsung models now sharply closing the gap on Apple’s dominant share of the market – new research data has revealed.

The figures, released by independent market analysts comScore, and based on a survey of mobile users aged 13 and over, show that for the three-month period ending on October 31 this year, 62.3% of the UK population were in possession of a smartphone – a substantial increase on the 48.1% penetration recorded during the same period in 2011.

Moreover, of the five European countries examined by comScore – the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France – only Spain’s penetration, at 63.2%, registered higher than that of the UK.

Of the other three countries, however, only Germany was revealed as having failed to attain a smartphone penetration of at least 50%.

The research findings also revealed that while Apple continues to lead the UK smartphone market – accounting for 28% of all models purchased – Samsung is fast catching up, having substantially boosted its share from 11.2% during the three months to the end of October last year, to 24% for the same period this year.

Trailing behind in third and fourth places are Research in Motion (RIM), which is the company behind Blackberry, and HTC – registering penetrations of 15.2%, and 15% respectively.

Nokia’s share, meanwhile, was shown to have declined year-on-year from 16% to 7.9%.

In terms of the most popular mobile operating system, comScore found that Android – which powers the Samsung smartphone range among others – continues to dominate, with a 46.6% share of the UK market.