The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, for the three months to December 2013, shows that Android ended 2013 as the top OS across Europe with 68.6% share, while Apple held second place with 18.5%. Windows Phone continues to show high year-on-year growth, but its share of the European market has essentially remained flat at 10.3% for the past three months.

Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said in a statement: “Android finished 2013 strongly, showing year-on-year share growth across 12 major global markets including Europe, USA, Latin America, China and Japan. Apple has lost share in most countries compared with this time last year, but importantly it has held strong shares in key markets including 43.9% in USA, 29.9% in Great Britain and 19.0% in China.”

“Windows Phone has now held double digit share across Europe for three consecutive months,” Sunnebo said. “Unfortunately for Nokia the European smartphone market is only growing at 3% year on year so success in this market has not been enough to turn around its fortunes – reflected in its recent disappointing results. Its performance also deteriorated toward the end of 2013 in the important growth markets of China, USA and Latin America.”

Smartphone OS sales share
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech smartphone OS sales share
Source: Kantar Worldpanel ComTech

After years of accelerated growth, Samsung is now coming under real pressure in most regions, with European share down by 2.2 percentage points to 40.3% and in China its share ended the year flat at 23.7%.

Sunnebo said: “It’s no surprise that everyone is concentrating on high growth China, but currently local brands are proving clear winners. In December, Xiaomi overtook both Apple and Samsung to become the top selling smartphone in China – a truly remarkable achievement for a brand which was only started in 2010 and sells its device almost exclusively online. The combination of high spec devices, low prices and an ability to create unprecedented buzz through online and social platforms has proved an irresistible proposition for the Chinese.”

In Japan, consumers’ desire for all things Apple continued into the final quarter of 2013, with iOS taking 68.7% share of smartphone sales. Apple’s deal to sell iPhones through Japan’s largest carrier, NTT DoCoMO, has proved an unarguable success with Apple’s share on the carrier reaching 58.1% in the fourth quarter compared with 91.7% on Softbank and 63.7% on AU KDDI.

Smartphone % penetration in Great Britain stood at 69% in December, with 85% of devices sold in the past three months being smartphones. 34% of smartphones bought in December were gifts, up from 30% in 2012. Samsung was the top gifted smartphone manufacturer with 30.7%, followed by Apple at 28.4% and Nokia at 17.6%.

*The big five European markets includes UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

MacDailyNews Take: First of all, as we said long ago: BlackBerry is dead. Stick a fork in ‘em. We give Beleaguered Blackberry a “Fsck the ambulance, call a hearse” rating.

Now, again, as we wrote in response to the IDC smartphone numbers earlier this morning:

Apple isn’t shooting for general market share domination, just market share domination of the mid- to high-end, which, by all anecdotal evidence (customer quality, apps sold, data usage, etc.) they do dominate.

That said, Apple is leaving sales on the table and making it more difficult for themselves to later gather up these lost customers who begin to invest in the fragmandroid “ecosystem.”

As we wrote last week:

When Apple finally extracts their collective head from their collective ass and ships iPhone models with larger screens, they’ll do more damage to slavish copier Samsung than all of their endless, plodding patent infringement cases combined.

We believe that Apple became infatuated with the fact that only they could produce small, thin smartphones with an efficient OS that could work with the small batteries that these compact iPhones housed. “Nobody else can do such things.” Meanwhile, battery-hogging Android leeches like Samsung slapped larger screens on their phones to hide the fact that they needed significantly larger batteries in order to run for even a few hours (Android phones are notorious for running out of charge).

Far too many otherwise intelligent consumers saw little or nothing of Apple’s considerable engineering superiority (the iPhone 5s is simply the best smartphone anyone has ever produced), these otherwise intelligent consumers only saw iPhone’s smaller screens. They didn’t see Android’s inefficiency or inferior ecosystem, they only saw phones with larger screens.

If we’ve heard from one person who went with an Android phone for a larger screen who in fact really wanted an iPhone – “I’d have gotten an iPhone if only they had a larger screen” – we’ve heard it from a thousand. These are top tier, cream-of-the-crop customers (i.e. Apple’s target demographic), not low information cheapskates. They want to be Apple customers and participate heavily in Apple’s ecosystems, but, for a few years now, Apple has been blowing these sales by failing to deliver the product these high value customers desired. It’s inexplicable; any downsides (fragmentation, inventory management, etc.) are vastly outweighed by the vast sales potential to those who should be Apple customers, but are now carrying a plastic piece of crap from Samsung.

Bottom line: Apple screwed the pooch on this one. Shit or get off the pot, Tim.

MacDailyNews iPhone screen size poll

Source: MacDailyNews

Related article:
IDC: All leading smartphone vendors outgrew Apple iPhone unit sales in holiday quarter – January 28, 2014