Kantar: Android sales up in most markets, iOS down in China, Windows phone sales fall again

Independent market analysis firm Kantar Worldpanel has published its latest monthly data for sales in several key smartphone markets around the world, including the US, China, and the EU5 - the top five European Union markets of Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Last month, Kantar said it was "clear that there will only be two smartphone ecosystems moving forward – iOS and Android", and further emphasized that point by stating that we're now living in a "two-OS world". This month's data reinforces that assessment, with further declines for Windows phones across the globe, iOS holding its ground in many markets, and Android going from strength to strength.

Let's take a closer look at the latest figures in some of those key markets, for the three months ending in February 2017.

In the United States, iOS was the clear winner, increasing its sales market share by 3.7 percentage points (pp) year-on-year (YoY), rising to 42%. Kantar noted that the "iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus remained the top-selling smartphones in the US where they have been in the lead since the three months ending November 2016."

That growth came largely at the expense of Android, which dropped from 58.9% to 55.9% over the same period. According to Kantar, 23% of American consumers said they would consider buying one of Google's flagship Pixel phones, but added that the HTC-made "Pixel has not been able to surpass 2% of smartphone sales, in part because supply constraints have limited its availability."

Meanwhile, Windows' share dropped from 2.6% in the US to just 1.7%.

In Great Britain, Android sales remained relatively stable, dipping slightly by 0.5pp to 55% of the market. iOS saw the greatest gains, rising by 4.5pp YoY to a very healthy 42.3%.

The biggest loser in Britain was Windows, where sales dropped by almost two-thirds, falling to just 2.1%. Windows' smartphone sales market share peaked at 12% there in July 2015, but has been falling ever since.

Curiously, sales of BlackBerry devices rose very slightly, increasing from a share of 0.3% to 0.4% YoY.

Much like the UK, Windows smartphone sales dropped by just over two-thirds over in France, down to just 2.4%. iPhones grew in popularity with iOS sales market share rising by 4.1pp to 24%. Android also increased its share, albeit by a more modest 1.6pp, increasing to 73.4%.

Android held its ground in Germany, where its sales share saw a tiny decline of 0.3pp YoY, which didn't make much of a dent, considering it still commands 76.3% of the market. iOS rose by 4pp during the same period, and its current share means that one in every five smartphones sold there is an iPhone.

Windows' share more than halved, falling from 6.3% to 3% YoY.

But Android continues to crush all of its rivals in Spain, where its share rose from an already impressive 90% to a staggering 92.2%. According to Kantar, much of this growth came from a healthy increase in sales of devices from China's Xiaomi and Spanish brand BQ, while Samsung and Huawei both saw small declines in their sales there.

iOS lost out to the tune of 1.7pp YoY, dropping to 7.4%. Windows phones, which were never particularly popular in Spain - fell to just 0.4% from 0.9% a year earlier.

In Italy, where Windows phones peaked at 17.1% sales market share in December 2013, Microsoft's OS has now dropped to just 4.3%, down from 6.7% in February 2016.

As in Spain, Android remains the most popular choice by far among smartphone buyers, with almost four out of every five smartphones sold running Google's OS. iPhone sales also grew very slightly, rising by 1.2pp to 15.5%.

But it was a pretty awful year for iOS in China, where iPhone demand slumped, dropping from 22.2% to 13.2% YoY. Even so, Kantar notes that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus remained the top-selling devices in China, accounting for 8% of all smartphone sales between them.

Android enjoyed a huge gain of 10pp, rising to 86.4% YoY, while Windows' share crumbled to just 0.2%.

And finally, it's worth taking a look at Brazil, given recent comments made by WhartonBrooks CEO Greg Murphy on The MS Mobile Show this week. Murphy said that his company - which is still trying to crowdfund its first Windows phone, but has another four on its roadmap - was encouraged by Microsoft to ensure that its handset is sold in Brazil, due to the popularity of the mobile OS there.

The data from Kantar Worldpanel - going back five years - doesn't support that. According to Kantar, Windows' share of the Brazilian smartphone market peaked at 9% in August 2012. In February 2016, that share had fallen to just 4.6%, and it's now dropped even further, to just 2.1%. That is an improvement, however, on the 1.1% share to which it fell in September 2016.

The data shows that Android is the OS favored by most buyers in Brazil, with its share rising from 90.4% to an incredible 93.2% YoY, while iOS saw a very small decline of 0.3pp to 4.4% over the same period.

You can check out the smartphone sales market share over time for these markets, and others, with the interactive Kantar Worldpanel ComTech visualization tool.

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