updated 12:01 am EDT, Wed September 4, 2013
Gains seven percent in US, almost all of it taken from Android
A new study from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech says that the iPhone is continuing to gain share in the US and lately in the UK and France as well, reversing trends seen in other countries where it is still losing ground. On the heels of a ComScore survey last month that showed Apple's smartphone had risen to 40 percent of the US market, Kantar's updated figures show a gain to 43.4 percent over the past month -- a total gain of 7.8 percent over the past year, taken almost entirely from Android rather than smaller rivals like BlackBerry.
While Android (combined) remains the most popular platform in the US by shipments -- no company other than Apple reports actual sales to end-users -- it has lost 7.6 percent share over the past year, nearly matching the iPhones' 7.6 percent growth. BlackBerry continues to slide, losing 0.6 percent share from a year ago, but is down to a mere 1.2 percent of the US market.
Windows Phone, at 3.5 percent US marketshare, grew half a percent in the US and gaining substantially in Germany (2.6 percent growth) and Great Britain (five percent growth to reach 9.2 percent share). Overall, Windows managed to grow an average of 8.6 percent in the five major European markets, mostly at the expense of BlackBerry and by aggressively pricing phones to target those users upgrading from feature phones.
The discontinued Symbian OS continues to fall around the world as well, though in the US Kantar report it as having zero percent. It is most popular in China, where it holds just 2.9 percent of the market as feature phones decline globally. China gave Android an 8.2 percent year-over-year boost, though many such phones are heavily modified and don't have a connection to Google or the Play store at all, thus not meeting the accepted western definition of "Android phones."
Apple's iPhone dropped 3.9 percent over the year to 22.4 percent in China, still in second place compared to Android's 70.5 percent share. All other manufacturers lost share in China from the year-ago quarter.
Interestingly, the iPhone gained exactly the same percentage of growth in the UK as it did in the US market across the year. Apple is in second place behind Android in nearly every market by a comfortable margin ahead of smaller rivals, though it lost share in Germany as well as China.
The only exception is in Mexico, where the iPhone is behind even BlackBerry and Windows Phone due to price. In France, the iPhone saw 4.6 percent growth year-over-year, whereas in Australia growth was nearly flat at 0.1 percent.
Kantar's figures echo similar research by MobiLens ComScore, which saw the iPhone reach 40 percent of the US market in July. The hoped-for release of a less-expensive, polycarbonate-based iPhone might be able to reverse declines in poorer nations, even though the alleged "iPhone 5C" would likely be at the top end of pricing in its lower-cost tier.
A cheaper hardware entry into the more robust iOS eco-system might move the goalposts for competitors, which up to now have been based simply on shipments -- figures that are sometimes as high as double the number of units actually sold -- and could move the measure of success to figures like app store income for developers, downloads and other signs of real-world user engagement with the devices.