Kantar: iOS and Android gain in key markets "due to the decline of Windows" phone sales

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.

The latest data, for the three months ending in November 2016, shows significant gains for iOS in several major markets, although there were some positive results for Android too.

The biggest loser - unsurprisingly - was Microsoft, as its Windows phone sales continued to plummet. Global sales of Windows handsets have been falling for months, even as optimistic reports portray Microsoft as 'retrenching' in the smartphone market, temporarily scaling back its mobile efforts to prepare for a new class of handset, starting with its much-rumored 'Surface phone'.

But as its OS continues to lose mobile market share - and its hardware partners continue to raise concerns about the state of the platform - Microsoft runs the risk of losing mindshare among potential buyers for its future devices, which may not arrive until 2018. Meanwhile, as the data shows, its rivals continue to strengthen their market position - and there are some indications that Microsoft's competitors may be preparing to introduce similar features to those that define its own mobile OS.

Let's take a closer look at the latest Kantar data for some of those key markets.

iOS enjoyed massive year-over-year (YoY) gains in the United States, rising from 37.1% sales market share to 43.5%. Kantar said that the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 6s were the three most popular smartphones sold there during these three months, together accounting for a total of 31.3% of all smartphone sales.

Samsung's Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge were the fourth and fifth most popular handsets, respectively, with the Korean company amassing a total of 28.9% of US smartphone sales across its range. But that wasn't enough to prop up Android sales as a whole, with the platform's sales market share dropping from 60.4% a year ago to 55.3% by the end of November - its sixth consecutive three-month period of decline there. However, Kantar noted that Google's Pixel phones have been doing very well, accounting for 1.3% of US smartphone sales.

Meanwhile, Windows' share of smartphone sales there fell from 2.3% to just 0.8% YoY.

Windows' losses were far larger in Great Britain, where Microsoft's share of the smartphone market collapsed year-over-year, dropping from 9.1% to just 2.1%. Android sales dropped slightly, by 1.7 percentage points, from 51.3% to 49.6% over the same period.

But Microsoft's big losses were Apple's gains, as iOS gobbled up Windows' share of the smartphone pie, and then some. iPhones accounted for a massive 48.3% of British sales, a huge increase compared with their 39.2% share a year earlier.

Android sales also fell in France, from 73.4% to 71.9% YoY. Windows phone sales share more than halved to 3.6%, down from 7.7% a year ago. iOS was the big winner, rising by more than a third to 24.5% sales market share.

BlackBerry sales all but vanished over the past year, decreasing from 0.5% to a statistically insignificant 0.0% sales market share.

BlackBerry sales are similarly non-existent in Spain - although that's no change compared with a year earlier. Windows' share of Spanish smartphone sales is also approaching the zero-level, falling to just 0.5%, from 1.9% in November 2015.

Android sales declined there very slightly, from 87.3% to 86.5%, but iOS again saw a decent rise in demand, with its share of sales increasing from 10.8% to 13.0% YoY.

In Italy, Android increased its share from 77.3% to a very healthy 79.1% YoY, but iOS' sales growth was even stronger, rising from 12.8% to 16.4% YoY.

The collapse in Windows' share of the smartphone market is perhaps clearer in Italy than in any other country. Its share now stands at 4.0% - far higher than its current level in many parts of the world - but that figure has dropped from 9.1% a year earlier, and down from a remarkable peak of 17.1% in December 2013.

But Android's greatest increase in sales market share came in China, where it rose from 72.7% to just under 80% of the market over the previous year. Chinese manufacturer Huawei was the largest vendor of devices there, accounting for a quarter of all smartphone sales, although its sales actually dropped by 3.1 percentage points compared with the three months ending in October 2016.

iOS lost a big chunk of its share over the course of the year, falling from 25.3% to 19.9%, although Kantar points out that "growth for iOS was up 2.8 percentage points over the previous three-month period, driven by sales of iPhone 7."

Windows phone sales market share there fell from 1.6% to 0.1% YoY.


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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