Windows Phone remains fastest growing OS in Europe

In a world where mobile devices are becoming ever more popular, companies are developing products and services to get a slice of the $150bn industry. Microsoft aimed to penetrate the market in 2010 with the release of Windows Phone (WP). In the few short years it has existed, WP has managed to make a strong impact with a user-friendly UI, swift multitasking abilities and a low footprint.  

The latest study shows the OS is making huge progress in Europe recently, where it has held a double digit share for four consecutive months. Kantar World Panel reports Nokia’s low end range is contributing to WP’s position. This is due to high sales of the Lumia 520 which is the fourth highest selling handset in the UK, behind the iPhone 5c. The good news comes after a reported 156% growth in 2013 from the previous year, marking a historic moment for Microsoft.

Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, says Nokia must target mid to high-end phones to boost WP users.

“Nokia has continued its successful tactic of sucking up remaining featurephone owners across Europe. Even in Britain, where smartphone penetration is at 70%, there are over 14 million featurephone consumers for it to target. At some point Nokia will have to start making serious inroads into the smartphone competition, but for the time being its strategy in Europe is working. Crucial for Nokia will be its ability to keep low-end owners loyal and upgrade them to mid to high-end models.”

Google’s Android operating system retains its top spot across Europe with a whopping 68.5% stake. Among the Android competitors, Samsung dominates 39.5% of the sales followed by Sony’s 9.4% and LG’s 6.9%. Motorola have also increased their sales in the region despite only possessing 1.4% of Europe’s market share.

Apple retains second position with a steady 19% share, fueled by a surge of iPhone 5c sales which was previously outsold by the 5s three-to-one.

Source: Kantar WorldPanel via Techcrunch | Image via Techcrunch

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It would be more interesting if they gave a break down of the sales in terms of price bands - whether the gains are at the high, mid or low end etc. along with the total app sales within those countries as well - simply giving marketshare doesn't give much information on the health of an ecosystem.

It's common knowledge that Nokia is the "Dell Computers" (or whatever) for Europe. Before Nokia adopted Windows Phone as the main platform, due to it's partnership with Microsoft, their Symbian OS was the platform for their devices.

With that said, I think....

1. The people who are buying Windows Phones are not only the very low income people, but do so because of the Nokia brand name.

2. These 100+% increase in growth for Windows phone, they are hardly cracking doubt-digit percentages. 100-200% growth for Windows Phone is only +3-4% in some countries. THAT'S STILL HORRIFICALLY BAD!

3. It's not surprising Windows Phone is taking marketshare from iOS. I've always said that the device game is about marketing, excitement, and momentum. iOS hardly can retain momentum because Apple is just one company, where Android has a fleet of partners that keeps bringing Android front and center in the world stage. What puzzles me, is that Microsoft despite all their tv ads and product placement hasn't been able to move their dial up a notch.

What I think Microsoft should do, since their phones are kinda dirt cheap and attract the low income crowd.....perhaps they should make a deal with the Federal Gov't to make their phones part of the Obama-phone program. Think of it as a Government "contract" job. For those who don't know what an "Obama-phone" is, the Obama Administration gives free phones to welfare recipients for free...of course there are limitations, but they do give out free phones....and I know for a fact that some of the more "high end" phones they give are no-name Android Phones. Perhaps Microsoft should do something like that.

VictorWho said,
With that said, I think....

1. The people who are buying Windows Phones are not only the very low income people, but do so because of the Nokia brand name.

So worldwide only very poor folk are buying WPs? Well you think wrong but that's not really a surprise.

VictorWho said,

1. The people who are buying Windows Phones are not only the very low income people, but do so because of the Nokia brand name.

I believe the owner of this site, Steven P. uses a lumia 520 or htc 8x I forget which. not sure how he would feel you calling him poor,on his own site.

VictorWho said,
....

Having owned:
Samsung Focus
LG Quantum
Lumia 900
Lumia 920

I am also not poor, as I had to buy these outright, unlock them and bring them to my carrier. I care nothing for the name, but I see how you get that from the average person. My sister-in-law absolutely loathes LG. She knows nothing of Android but refused my hand-me-down LG Quantum becuase it was LG, not because it was Windows Phone.

Wow, good to see Windows as the only one gaining market share in GB from last year.

Although, I can't really say for those in others, some could be up whilst others within that group are down.

neonspark said,
suddenly italy becomes top vacation spot for MSFT employees...at least they don't feel like a total failure

You try to do better in a saturated market. These are great numbers, especially if you consider this is basically one OEM. Nokia has 95% of WP's marketshare so basically these figures portray Nokia's marketshare.

Not bad if you consider Android's share is split into more than 10 players. Nokia is doing better than most Android OEMs. It demonstrates that if an OEM commits to WP then they can gain a lot of marketshare. If one or two of the other WP OEMs takes WP serious and releases good devices for it throughout the year than next year we can see another doubling because this appears to be critical mass (in Europe at least).

Ronnet said,

You try to do better in a saturated market. These are great numbers, especially if you consider this is basically one OEM. Nokia has 95% of WP's marketshare so basically these figures portray Nokia's marketshare.

Not bad if you consider Android's share is split into more than 10 players. Nokia is doing better than most Android OEMs. It demonstrates that if an OEM commits to WP then they can gain a lot of marketshare. If one or two of the other WP OEMs takes WP serious and releases good devices for it throughout the year than next year we can see another doubling because this appears to be critical mass (in Europe at least).

Marketshare isn't as important as profits...

stevan said,

Marketshare isn't as important as profits...

I never said it was. But an increase in marketshare is still a very good sign. And we can't really comment on the profits since they arent part of this article. But as long as you aren't selling as a loss (like Motorola was) then an increase in marketshare is even better. And on a profit comparison I don't think Nokia do all that bad either, considering HTC and Sony.

But I would argue that right now for Microsoft, marketshare is more important than profit. They need to become relevant on modern consumer devices. Otherwise it will have a negative effect on all of their business.

It is not just a OEM picking an OS: Nokia has always been extremely popular in Italy, much more than HTC for example. In other words it is Nokia that is pushing the OS, not the other way around. Furthermore let us not forget all the works that Nokia has done as apps and enhancements; it added to the whole experience much more than MS itself.

Fritzly said,
It is not just a OEM picking an OS: Nokia has always been extremely popular in Italy, much more than HTC for example. In other words it is Nokia that is pushing the OS, not the other way around. Furthermore let us not forget all the works that Nokia has done as apps and enhancements; it added to the whole experience much more than MS itself.

Which is why I didn't say one OEM would double WP's marketshare. But I do believe that many customers don't greatly care for brands. A big part of Android's succes can be explained by having no visible competition. In many stores a customer has no choice when it comes to buying an affordable smartphone but Android.

As a 920 owner I can't say the Nokia apps radiacally improve the experience. Nokia Drive is very useful but I think many people can do without full navigation build in. WP as an out of the boxs experience is really good for casual users. And while Nokia's rep has helped get Windows Phones in people's hands at this stage, in my country at least, WP itself is getting some word of mouth.

Ronnet said,

But I do believe that many customers don't greatly care for brands.

Fair enough; personally I disagree though: aside from people like us, reading Neowin and similar sites, the remaining 85%, just an educated guess, is instead motivated by the Brand of the device.
As for Nokia just consider, for example, the camera apps, Storage check, Data Sense, BT4 and my favourite one: Glance. While I was already familiar with it having already used it in previous Symbian devices it is so useful that I would remain with Nokia devices just for this feature.

I use the default camera app, Nokia's takes grainy pictures. In fact during the day (when I take most pictures) my old HTC WP (Mozart) took better pictures than my Lumia 920!

I've never used storage check, data sense is also on my sister's HTC (its an MS app), I dont know what BT4 is and I have glance turned off since it eats my battery.

I dont think they are motivated by brands in particular. It does have an impact (which is why I said 'dont greatly care' instead of ''not care'. The average consumer might want a Nokia until they see a Samsung that is cheaper or in a nicer color. I don't think there is all that much brand loyalty except for whats currently cool such as Apple and Samsung.

But if there was brand loyalty then I still stick to my Original statement that WP could double its marketshare if two OEMs committed to WP. Because in Europe Nokia's presence is greatly overstated. Even in the later days of the feature-Phone age I saw just as much LGs, SE, and Samguns in the wild as Nokias, in europe at least. Nokia was the biggest but it was the biggest minority. So if LG would commit then we would already see a massive increase in marketshare.

Yeah I think that's one of the most significant facts from this report. Has taken longer than many thought, but an important milestone. Hopefully with 8.1 and new handsets from LG, Lenovo and all the others they can increase that to 10% by the summer!

10% by the summer? Not so fast. Even if WP 8.1 was an amazing success, you'd be talking about 10% by maybe next summer.

Enron said,
10% by the summer? Not so fast. Even if WP 8.1 was an amazing success, you'd be talking about 10% by maybe next summer.

It depends on who makes new devices, is it just going to by Nokia/Microsoft? If other OEMs make a move it could accelerate in the US and in general.

George P said,

It depends on who makes new devices, is it just going to by Nokia/Microsoft? If other OEMs make a move it could accelerate in the US and in general.

Maybe with a serious effort from an OEM like Samsung. But what are the chances of that happening?

I just had a coworker ask if he could borrow my 520 to try it out. He's done with the Android power/memory/storage issues and doesn't want to go Apple. I was where he is now after constantly cooking ROMs and tweaking my Windows Mobile devices. It just burned me out after a while. I wanted something that just worked. I think he is like a lot of Android users who are frustrated with the constant tweaking. This year I think we with WP 8.1 we will see a lot of users convert or adopt Microsoft's mobile platform. Exciting times.

It's strange I've owned a Galaxy Note 1, 2 & 3. Never had any of the issues you described. I just use the phone/tablet. Currently using a Note 3 along with an iPhone. Great combination.

That's how I am now. I have a galaxy s4 now and had a galaxy s2 before that. I switched to android after my iphone 3gs, and I'm getting sick of all the random performance issues I have with this phone too. One of the biggest issues I've had lately is my sd card keeps getting disconnected randomly, so certain apps stop working like spotify. I'm heavily considering switching to windows phone when I get my next phone, but it may be a year or so before that happens. I may try to hold off and wait for windows phone 9, but I'm not sure when that will be out. There's also still a few apps that I'd need that are missing from the WP platform like Check (used to be page once). But it's getting there.

JHBrown said,
It's strange I've owned a Galaxy Note 1, 2 & 3. Never had any of the issues you described. I just use the phone/tablet. Currently using a Note 3 along with an iPhone. Great combination.

I hear you, I'm just relaying his experience. I just wiped my 520 and put my SIM back in to my cracked screen 920 which I keep as a secondary device since my kids dropped it multiple times and broke the screen... (Yeah... Kids corner.... great idea in theory... LOL). He's on Verizon but he can use it over Wifi for a few days.

I was the same. The out of the box experience of Android wasn't to my liking. I especially didn't like the tweaks on my Motorola Droid that gave me way too much screens. For some reason I wanted to fill them all. One thing let to another and eventually I was changing ROMs every few weeks. Always losing progress in apps as well as content in the process.

I liked Windows Phone because it gave me what I needed when I needed it. I especially liked how the interface 'grew' as you added more apps. But my main reason was that it made it impossible for my habbit to get the better of me. I'm still on WP and currently a happy 920 owner.

Same story here. Had a couple of Galaxies, messed around with ROMs and launchers all the time and eventually while that was fun decided I just wanted something that worked and got a 920 last year. I'd like a tad more customisation options (8.1 looks like it'll have that) but otherwise I use my phone way more than I did my Android; which I mostly just was setting it up all the time as I reflashed and restarted.

Despite the massive improvements I still feel there's some missing apps that stop me from recommending WP to everyone, but I am sure in another few months that won't be a problem anymore.

Good to see US share up to 5%!

Drewidian said,

I hear you, I'm just relaying his experience. I just wiped my 520 and put my SIM back in to my cracked screen 920 which I keep as a secondary device since my kids dropped it multiple times and broke the screen... (Yeah... Kids corner.... great idea in theory... LOL). He's on Verizon but he can use it over Wifi for a few days.

Ouch! I test drove 920 for about 2 weeks and it felt like a tank. Mine was dropped(on the carpet thankfully) by my daughter a few times also.

Drewidian said,
I just had a coworker ask if he could borrow my 520 to try it out. He's done with the Android power/memory/storage issues and doesn't want to go Apple. I was where he is now after constantly cooking ROMs and tweaking my Windows Mobile devices. It just burned me out after a while. I wanted something that just worked. I think he is like a lot of Android users who are frustrated with the constant tweaking. This year I think we with WP 8.1 we will see a lot of users convert or adopt Microsoft's mobile platform. Exciting times.

Believe me,......your friend does not know how to use his phone. He probably is running a ton of widgets in the background. The solution to that is simple...DON'T RUN THEM.

As for WIndows Phone 8.1 and this year,.....that's what they keep saying. Unfortunately, it's not going to happen because WP 8.1 is not an exciting smart phone. It's not as exciting as Blackberry is today and those phones are top quality. There is a reason why WP only hold 3% marketshare around the world and Android hold 80+%. The reason for that is that Android is an exciting platform where Google's partners bring something new and exciting to the table all the time. Android basically sells itself. The personal customization, the widgets, live wallpaper, Google NOW, the Google Mobile Apps, the touchless features, the voice features,....this is all stuff Windows Phone does not have. I know they will eventually have it, but Android will already have owned it. That's just the way it works. Windows Phone is headed to be the next Web OS....unfortunately

VictorWho said,
WP 8.1 is not an exciting smart phone. It's not as exciting as Blackberry is today and those phones are top quality.
Which is why everyone's buying those exciting BB phones and their market share is zooming. Lol.

JHBrown said,
It's strange I've owned a Galaxy Note 1, 2 & 3. Never had any of the issues you described. I just use the phone/tablet.
Had (well have but it's lying somewhere untouched) a Galaxy Tab and had all those issues. Laggy as hell (without any widgets running in the background, any live wallpaper or any of that crap). As for the worst app by far that kept crashing and was missing basic features? Chrome. Still waiting for a stable release of CM for it to give it a second lease of life. Unless someone can recommend an alternate ROM?

VictorWho said,
.....

No no no and just no.

As a Telco employee I can tell you the reason for Android's popularity. It's a tinkerer OS that allows telco nerds to learn something new.

Telco nerds tell business owners what to buy.
They have a big stiffy for the tinker toy of cell phones.

The only reason the consumer market jumped so fast is that it was the only option to iDevice at the time.
Microsoft really need to change the opinions of the engineers at telcos to convince them there is room to play on a closed device.

But honestly I'm a bit worried that with all the changes coming to WP8.1 like apps on SD, no more Facebook integration, no music + video hub that the stability may get worse.

I don't think Facebook integration goes in the next version (it has in Windows, not on Windows Phone) and the splitting of music and videos is a big step forwards.