According to the latest report from The NPD Group, US consumer sales of the BlackBerry Curve have outstripped those of the Apple iPhone in the first quarter of 2009. It says that an aggressive buy-one-get-one-free promotion from Verizon Wireless has helped in no little part to push the Curve into first place and make it the best-selling consumer smartphone in the US so far this year.

NPD says that RIM’s consumer smartphone market share increased 15 percent to nearly 50 percent of the smartphone market in Q1 2009 versus the prior quarter, while the Apple (and for that matter Palm) share dropped by 10 percent.

But the good news for RIM does not stop there, taking consumer sales during the first quarter in the United States into account, it has three out of the top five smartphones:

  1. RIM BlackBerry Curve (all 83XX models)
  2. Apple iPhone 3G (all models)
  3. RIM BlackBerry Storm
  4. RIM BlackBerry Pearl (all models, except flip)
  5. T-Mobile G1

"Verizon Wireless’s aggressive marketing of the BlackBerry Storm and its buy-one-get-one BlackBerry promotion to its large customer base contributed to RIM capturing three of the top five positions,” said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at The NPD Group. “The more familiar, and less expensive, Curve benefited from these giveaways and was able to leapfrog the iPhone, due to its broader availability on the four major U.S. national carriers."