Android market share losing out to iOS in Europe

Anne Freier | September 8, 2015

App Business

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According to new smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Android has been losing ground in Europe’s five biggest markets (Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain), whilst remaining steady in the US. Android market share dropped 4.1 percentage points (pp) to 71% during May, June and July 2015, down from 75.1% over the same period in 2014.

Market share changes varied by region. Whilst Android fell 8.7pp in Germany and 5.4pp in France, it only dropped by 1.5pp in Italy. Android smartphones fared considerably better in the US, where their slice grew to 65.6% from 63.9% during the same three months in 2014. In contrast, Apple market share rose by 2.5pp in Europe to 17% and declined 1.3pp in the US.

Carolina Milanesi, Chief of Research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, explains:

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“Android market share in Europe was negatively impacted by challenging market dynamics in Germany, France, and Great Britain. In the US, performance was more of a level field between the two leading operating systems, as the iOS market share decline and Android share gain both decelerated.”

Indeed, European smartphone owners have been quicker to replace their mobile devices than their US counterparts. This is mostly due to many Americans opting for longer contracts, whilst Europeans are often on pre-paid or short-term contracts and hence replace their devices sooner.

Whilst the US market continues to be dominated by Apple and Samsung, together accounting for 64% of smartphones sold, more competitors are flooding the market, including LG, which has gained ground in the country. Dominic Sunnebo, Business unit Director, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe, adds:

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“The maturity of the European market is evident when looking at the declining number of first time smartphone buyers – in the 3 months ending July 2015, only 25% of smartphones sold went to first-time buyers versus 29% for the same period in 2014. This type of market maturity increases the impact of churn on overall performance as we have seen with Android this time around – 27% of smartphone buyers across Europe left Android for iOS versus 9% in the US.”

Milanesi expects Apple performance on old devices to remain strong despite new product launches, due to the price decreases. She says:

“In the US, 32% of the overall sales of the iPhone 5s were generated after the launch of the iPhone 6.”

The report also took a closer look at other regions in the world. In China, Android smartphone share fell 5.5pp, whilst iPhone’s rose 5.9pp. Apple reported strong sales in China of $13.2bn in June, despite fears of a market saturation.

Android shares fell to 56.1% in Australia, whilst Apple’s share increased to 34.9%. In Japan, Android fell 7pp and Apple rose 6.3pp. Tamsin Timpson, Strategic insight Director, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia, explained:

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“In urban China, the market leadership battle is far from over, as Huawei was quickly dethroned by Xiaomi after reaching the top spot in June. Xiaomi takes advantage of the shortest replacement cycle in urban China, a mere 12 months against the overall smartphone average of 20 months.”

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