updated 06:58 pm EDT, Mon September 30, 2013
Apple's platform gaining in English-speaking areas, Android in others
A new report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech that gathers the averages for June, July and now August is painting two pictures: one of the areas where iOS and Android are growing, and another showing that Android growth in developed markets such as North America and Europe to be levelling off or falling. The report covers most of the summer, and thus reflects some dropping demand for the iPhone in light of the expected refresh -- but trend lines for both Apple and Android are becoming clear.
Broadly speaking, Apple's iOS platform is growing most strongly in areas where English is the dominant or secondary language -- in North America, Kantar believes the company has around 40 percent of all smartphone sales, up from 34 percent a year ago -- almost exactly the same gain as the Android platform's drop of 5.6 percent year-over-year. The trend is mirrored in Great Britain, where iOS gained 6.1 percent compared to Android's cumulative drop of 6.4 percent. Australia saw iOS with a three percent gain compared to Android's 3.8 percent fall.
Japan, recently added to Kantar's list of monitored countries, shows iOS nearly even with Android, 47.4 percent of the market to 48.6. Ahead of any refresh of the iPhone, these figures could change dramatically by year's end now that Apple has secured a deal with NTT DoCoMo, the country's largest carrier, and has debuted the new iPhones there.
In the top five European markets, Android growth was soft at 1.3 percent compared to an overall two percent gain for iOS. Android growth in Europe was due almost entirely to strong gains in Spain and Italy (with six and 13 percent rises in Android year-over-year, respectively), while iOS did best in Great Britain and France (with six and four percent gains, respectively).
Apple's platform continued to struggle in countries with poorer economies over the summer, however -- including the all-important China market, where Android saw a 9.2 percent gain while all other platforms experienced a roughly 2.8 percent average loss (apart from BlackBerry, which notably fell to zero percent share in China over the summer). It should be noted that Kantar's figures are three-month moving averages, and that all of its non-Apple data comes from shipments to stores rather than end-user sales.
In Germany, iOS saw its biggest drop outside China, falling 1.8 percent -- but the gain went to Windows Phone rather than Android, the latter of which saw completely flat growth (but holds 78.7 percent of the market). The Windows platform was the only one to gain share in Germany over the summer, rising five percent to 8.8 and threatening iOS's 9.5 percent share. BlackBerry continued its freefall, dropping to an average of under two percent (and often well under one percent) in all the countries surveyed. In the US, BlackBerry now stands at 1.8 percent share, while in the top five European countries it is now 2.4 percent.
Even within Android's gains, there are signs of increasing diversity. "After years of increasing market share, Android has now reached a point where significant growth in developed markets is becoming harder to find. Android's growth has been spearheaded by Samsung, but the manufacturer is now seeing its share of sales across the major European economies dip year on year as a sustained comeback from Sony, Nokia and LG begins to broaden the competitive landscape,"Ł said Kantar Strategic Insight Director Dominic Sunnebo in a statement on the report.