The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, for the three months to October 2013, shows that the new iPhone 5C and 5S models have helped boost Apple’s market share compared to the previous month, but have not seen the same uplift as when the iPhone 5 was released at the same time in 2012. Across Europe, Android remains the number one OS with 70.9% share, with Apple holding 15.8%. Windows continues to achieve rapid growth and now accounts for 10.2% of European smartphone sales.
Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, comments: “In almost all markets, the iPhone 5S and 5C releases have given iOS a significant bounce compared to the previous month. Generally, Apple’s share of the market still remains lower than when the iPhone 5 was released, although this is not wholly unexpected as shoppers tend to react more positively to ‘full’ releases than incremental improvements such as the 5S and 5C.
“However, the new releases have led to spectacular results in certain markets. In Japan, where the iPhone is now available via the country’s largest carrier NTT DoCoMo, Apple’s share hit 76.1% during October. In the US, Apple’s October share reached 52.8%. Mainland Europe remains more challenging for iOS, particularly in markets like Italy and Germany where handset subsidies are far lower. Britain is more positive; iOS sales share is now at 28.7% for the last 3 months, with sales driven by the higher-end 5S model which has outsold the 5C by three to one since their release.”
The release of the iPhone 5C marks Apple’s first move away from high-end handsets, a strategy that has attracted new customers to try the brand for the first time.
Sunnebo continues, “The cheaper 5C appeals to a broader audience than Apple usually attracts. In the US, the biggest demand for these mid-end models is coming from lower income households. Some 42% of iPhone 5C owners earn less than $49,000 compared with just 21% for iPhone 5S. iPhone 5C customers also tend to be slightly older at an average of 38 years compared to 34 years for the 5S. The good news for Apple is that this wider appeal is attracting significant switching from competitors. Almost half of iPhone 5C owners switched from competitor brands, particularly Samsung and LG, compared with 80% of 5S owners who upgraded from a previous iPhone model.”
Windows’ progress had continued in the latest period, with share in the five largest EU economies* now past 10% and share in the US close to 5%.
Sunnebo comments, “Momentum for Windows Phone is continuing, although its growth remains reliant on low-end handsets. In Britain, almost three quarters of Nokia Lumia sales in the latest period were low-end devices such as the Lumia 520 and 620 – a pattern that is similar across other EU markets.
“China remains a key challenge for Nokia, with its market share languishing at 3.5%. Local Chinese brands are becoming increasingly dominant in the world’s largest smartphone market, selling high specification Android devices at low prices. If Microsoft partnered with a major local brand it could help drive Windows Phone momentum but, with the Nokia takeover imminent, this does not look likely to happen anytime soon.”
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