Kantar: iPhone 7 boosts iOS share; Android sales keep rising, Windows phones keep falling

Independent market analysis firm Kantar Worldpanel has published its latest monthly data for 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 September 2016 - shows year-over-year (YoY) gains for iOS thanks in part to a boost from the launch of Apple's latest iPhones, along with increases in sales share for Android in some markets too. But with Microsoft's current range of smartphones nearing the end of their retail life, and few compelling alternative Windows handsets available from third parties, Windows' share of the smartphone market has continued to decline.

Let's take a closer look at some of these key markets.

The greatest gains in the United States were enjoyed by iOS, which rose by 5 percentage points from 29.2% in September 2015 to 34.2% a year later. "In the US," Kantar said, "the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models made an immediate impact, becoming the best-selling smartphones in the month of September at 17.1%." With the iPhone 6s also still in high demand as the second-best seller in the US, Apple managed to grow its share of the US mobile market considerably.

The Galaxy Note7 fiasco was still unfolding throughout much of September, but even with a relatively limited impact from that disaster on its sales for the entire quarter, Kantar notes that Samsung sales still fell by more than 3% to 33.8%. Despite its recent public apology, and the ongoing recall of the Note7, Samsung may well face further a further dip in demand going into the holiday season, particularly with its brand currently embroiled in another high-profile recall.

Given that Samsung is the largest global vendor of Android handsets, that clearly contributed to the YoY sales decline for the platform in the US, falling from 65.9% to 63.4%. Meanwhile, Windows phone share more than halved over the same period, dropping from 3.9% to just 1.9%.

In Great Britain, Android saw more impressive YoY gains, rising 4.3% to 55.7% sales share, with Samsung grabbing 30.7% of the overall smartphone market. As in the US, iOS also got a boost in part from strong sales of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which accounted for 15.1% of all smartphone sales there. The iPhone SE also remains a very popular choice in Britain, with 8.5% of sales, compared with just 3.5% in the US.

Windows phone sales collapsed year-over-year in Britain, falling from 9.8% sales share to just 3.6% by the end of the last quarter.

It was a similarly disastrous state of affairs for Windows in Italy, where the platform's share of the market peaked at 17.1% in December 2013. After gradually dropping to 12.6% by September 2015, Windows phone sales share has since plummeted to just 4.8%.

Meanwhile, Android continues to go from strength to strength in Italy, growing its sales share by 5.7% YoY to 82.1%. Huawei is now Italy's top-selling smartphone vendor with 27.3% of the market, while Samsung has fallen to 24.7% from a peak of 40.6%. iOS has also seen comfortable gains there, rising from 10.0% a year ago to 12.8% this September.

iOS has held its ground in Spain over the last year, remaining at 6.3%, but Android somehow just keeps on growing in popularity there. From a remarkable 90.4% sales share in September 2015, Android has since risen to a staggering 93.0%, while Windows has crumbled from 3.0% to a pitiful 0.7%.

iOS was the big winner in France, where its sales share rose by 5.3% to 19.9% of the market. Android also grew YoY, but nowhere near as much, increasing its share from 72.3% to 74.2%. Windows was a big loser here, dropping from 12.3% to just 5.2% YoY.

Germany was once a strong market for Windows phones, with a sizeable proportion of the platform's sales going to higher-end handsets like the Lumia 930. But over the last year, Windows phone share has fallen from 7.6% to just 3.3%.

iPhones have fallen slightly out of favor in Germany too, dropping from 17.5% to 15.0%. But Germans are clearly embracing Android devices enthusiastically; from 73.7% in September 2015, Android sales share grew by an impressive 7.4%, increasing to 81.1%.

And there were more big gains for Android in China, where its sales share climbed by 7.7%, up from 77.6% to an impressive 85.3%. However, iPhone sales dropped considerably YoY, falling from 19.0% to 14.2% - but that is an increase compared with the 13.5% sales share that iOS achieved there in the three months ending in August 2016, which suggests that Chinese buyers are warming to the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

Windows phones have never been especially popular in China, with share peaking at 4.7% in August 2012. But during the three months ending in September 2016, Windows' share of phone sales dropped from 2.9% a year earlier, to 0.0% - the first time that Microsoft's mobile OS has registered a statistically insignificant number of sales in China.

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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