Apple’s share of smartphone sales has grown following the September release of the iPhone 5s and 5c, but its share of most major markets remains lower than this time last year, in the face of growing competition from rivals, according to new research.
The latest data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, indicates that LG, Sony and Nokia have made year-on-year share gains which is piling pressure on Apple.
Over the year, Windows grew 5.3%, Android saw a 7.6% increase while IOS dropped 6.5%, in the countries that Kantar measured (see full list above).
In the markets that it is strongest, Apple now accounts for 69% of the Japanese market, 43 per cent in the United States, 35 per cent in Australia and 30.6 per cent in Britain.
Android still dominates in Europe, with a 69% market share, but Windows Phone is now the third largest mobile operating system across Europe with 10% – more than double its share compared with last year.
Europe remains a high point for Nokia and Windows, but progress in the world’s two largest smartphone markets remains stubbornly slow with share stuck at 4.7% in the US and 2.7% in China.
Android finding growth harder
Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, comments: “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.”
Dominic continues: “Windows Phone’s latest wave of growth is being driven by Nokia’s expansion into the low and mid range market with the Lumia 520 and 620 handsets. These models are hitting the sweet spot with 16 to 24 year-olds and 35 to 49 year-olds, two key groups that look for a balance of price and functionality in their smartphone’.
Across the globe
In the United States, Apple continues to grow strongly year on year and now makes up 39.3% of sales. This is set to spike in the coming months with the release of the iPhone 5S & 5C.
Apple and Android have recorded almost identical shares of sales in Japan – 48.6% and 47.4% respectively. However, news that the new iPhone range will be available on Japan’s largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo, for the first time, makes it likely that Apple will pull ahead of Android in this key market.
BlackBerry’s troubles continue; the operating system now accounts for just 2.4% of sales across the big five European markets* and 1.8% in the United States.
Smartphone % penetration in Great Britain stands at 67% in August, with 85% of devices sold in the past three months being smartphones.
Profit warning for Apple
Last week, one of Wall Street’s biggest investment banks downgraded Apple, warning that the iPhone maker can expect lower profit margins and less support from operators in the future.
Wells Fargo cut its rating on the company from “outperform” to “market perform”, sending Apple shares down as much as 1.4 per cent in early US trading on Thursday.
The bank said there was “limited” opportunity for Apple to improve profits due to squeezed consumer conditions around the world, while the iPhone 6, expected to be introduced later this year, would be less profitable than previous models.