IDC: Google’s Android hits 75% smartphone market share worldwide

The Android smartphone operating system was found on three out of every four smartphones shipped during the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12). According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, total Android smartphone shipments worldwide reached 136.0 million units, accounting for 75.0% of the 181.1 million smartphones shipped in 3Q12. The 91.5% year-over-year growth was nearly double the overall market growth rate of 46.4%.

“Android has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market since it was launched in 2008,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager, Mobile Phones at IDC. “In every year since then, Android has effectively outpaced the market and taken market share from the competition. In addition, the combination of smartphone vendors, mobile operators, and end-users who have embraced Android has driven shipment volumes higher. Even today, more vendors are introducing their first Android-powered smartphones to market.”

“The share decline of smartphone operating systems not named iOS since Android’s introduction isn’t a coincidence,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “The smartphone operating system isn’t an isolated product, it’s a crucial part of a larger technology ecosystem. Google has a thriving, multi-faceted product portfolio. Many of its competitors, with weaker tie-ins to the mobile OS, do not. This factor and others have led to loss of share for competitors with few exceptions.”

Mobile Operating System Highlights

Android, having topped the 100 million unit mark last quarter, reached a new record level in a single quarter. By comparison, Android’s total volumes for the quarter were greater than the total number of smartphones shipped in 2007, the year that Android was officially announced. Samsung once again led all vendors in this space, but saw its market share decline as numerous smaller vendors increased their production.

iOS was a distant second place to Android, but was the only other mobile operating system to amass double-digit market share for the quarter. The late quarter launch of the iPhone 5 and lower prices on older models prevented total shipment volumes from slipping to 3Q11 levels. But without a splashy new OS-driven feature like Siri in 2011 and FaceTime in 2010, the iPhone 5 relied on its larger, but not wider, screen and LTE connectivity to drive growth.

BlackBerry‘s market share continued to sink, falling to just over 4% by the end of the quarter. With the launch of BlackBerry 10 yet to come in 2013, BlackBerry will continue to rely on its aging BlackBerry 7 platform, and equally aging device line-up. Still, demand for BlackBerry and its wildly popular BBM service is strong within multiple key markets worldwide, and the number of subscribers continues to increase.

Symbian posted the largest year-on-year decline of the leading operating systems. Nokia remains the largest vendor still supporting Symbian, along with Japanese vendors Fujitsu, Sharp, and Sony. Each of these vendors is in the midst of transitioning to other operating systems and IDC believes that they will cease shipping Symbian-powered smartphones in 2013. At the same time, the installed base of Symbian users will continue well after the last Symbian smartphone ships.

Windows Phone marked its second anniversary with a total of just 3.6 million units shipped worldwide, fewer than the total number of Symbian units shipped. Even with the backing of multiple smartphone market leaders, Windows Phone has yet to make a significant dent into Android’s and iOS’s collective market share. That could change in 4Q12, when multiple Windows Phone 8 smartphones will reach the market.

Linux volume declined for the third straight quarter as did its year-over-year growth. Samsung accounted for the majority of shipments once again, but like most other vendors competing with Linux-powered smartphones, most of its attention went towards Android instead. Still, that has not deterred other vendors from experimenting, or at least considering the open-source operating system, as multiple reports of Firefox, Sailfish, and Tizen plan to release new Linux-based experiences in the future.

Top Six Smartphone Mobile Operating Systems, Shipments, and Market Share, Q3 2012 (Preliminary) (Units in Millions)
IDC: Top Six Smartphone Mobile Operating Systems, Shipments, and Market Share, Q3 2012 (Preliminary)
Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, November 1, 2012. Note: Data are preliminary and subject to change. Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.

Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, November 1, 2012

MacDailyNews Take: Now, if only Google et al. could figure out how to make crime pay. Profit share figures for iOS vs. Android are pretty much these market share figures flipped.

Related articles:
Apple utterly dominates mobile device market with 6% market share – and 77% of the profits – August 6, 2012
Steve Jobs: ‘I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product; I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this’ – October 20, 2011


        1. It’s a joke to call Android a platform. It’s not a single monolithic OS like Mac OSX or Windows or iOS, it’s a splintered and fragmented collection of slightly sometimes cross compatible security and privacy lacking mini platforms.

          1. 75% is still a quantifiable value. It is evident that Apple has to provide consumers with a product that can compete. It seems that Apple fanbois lack the requisite ability to reproduce sexually; therefore, Apple will have to intice others to join the fold.

    1. One reason could be that in South America Android phones are sold everywhere in every other store down the street and iPhones can only be bought for a fortune (like $1000) at authorized carrier stores.

      So the rich people have iPhones and very other person in the street has an Android phone.


  1. I wonder why if IDC says android is in 75% of the smartphones, iPhone still the king of the hill on internet usage and commerce?
    IDC need to get the facts straight and clarify that this is MANUFACTURING or SHIPMENTS, NOT SOLD UNITS.

    1. Almost everyone in my workplace has bought an iphone model in the past month, ranging from the iphone 4 to the iphone 5 and only 1 person bought a non apple phone. Those figures sound odd to me, but this is what I experienced in the real world. I see people get excited about the apple phones, never the android or windows phones…

    2. I can believe that *Android* is on 75% of smartphones actually sold throughout the world. But, frankly, the bulk of these no more than an different OS running a feature phone. In other words, not all phones sold using a variant of Android can really be classified as a smartphone. And as you note, there is a huge subset of Android users that don’t really utilize their phones as any more than phone. I’m over the whole Android vs iPhone drama. Besides, Apple can’t manufacture enough iPhones to supply all these Android buyers. Let them have the low budget space. If a financially challenged person, like a student can get a free Android phone, so be it. If Apple keeps improving the iPhone and iOS, then it will continue to be the smartphone that people aspire to, and Apple will continue to sell every one it is capable of producing.

    3. Exactly. The real question is, where are 75% of the profits from margin in the Phone biz, who has 75% of the 1-click purchasers lined up on their platform, who are 75% of the schools, government agencies, and fortune 500 companies standardizing on, and if there is any remaining doubt, where are all the talented programers flocking too? They KNOW which side of the bread is buttered.

    1. In London I saw thousands of iPhones, one lonely blackberry, and one feature phone. I was mostly in the airport and all around the financial district.

      What happens to Android the day Google decides to charge for it? Does Google become Microsoft and Samsung become dell?

    2. I know. These articles really make me wonder, where are they? iOS has a large percent of web traffic. Do these people not use their Androids for anything but calls? Did they go to the store wanting a feature phone and get a free Android instead? I rarely see Androids in the wild, even the GSIII. They’re almost non-existent.

    3. This what I can’t understand.

      Everywhere I look.. iPhone, and random android and blackberry. Have yet to see a windows phone in the wild.

      Those using android, do hide them though in presence of iOS users 😉

  2. Plus thats shipped not sold correct? So a flooded market of junk and premium phones as I said before its just a matter of time before they take the marketshare. Its Windows all over again!

    1. Naw, it’s not windows all over again. But Apple can take away a whole lot of that 75%. I’d be happy with 50%. There’s too much competition out there and too many people who can’t afford a quality smart phone. 50% would be just fine. Remember, Apple isn’t losing money on every phone. Keep the faith. AAPL will rebound soon. I don’t know about $700? I think that’s quite a ways in the future. But right now $650 looks awfully sweet if you’re getting in at these points. But beware, play with house money. Because those who thought Apple couldn’t drop any lower when it was at $640……… are a little wiser now. And those who didn’t take profit at $705……………..Jeez, I’m so sorry. They are very wise now. But I’m taking a little chance and we’ll see the next few weeks how well I do? But remember, it’s house money. I took my profit at $705. And I can’t wait to put it back in AAPL! Keep the faith!

  3. This is shipped units (which the Mfg’s can claim as sold because they ARE sold into the retail chain, technically). Most of these units are sitting in back storage rooms or in warehouses, not in customer’s hands. Who gives a rat’s a** when PROFITS are where it counts. Just look at the amount Samsung/HTC/etc. had to mark down on their profits/losses when they reported income. You would have to be an expert to find this data as it is hidden well and consumers will never know the truth unless the EXPERTS point it out. This is about MINDSHARE to the investors and consumers so it APPEARS as though they are winning when in fact they are getting their cumulative asses handed to them. Pathetic

      1. Probably never as the carriers return any unsold stock (which is where the numbers show up on the manufacturers income filings as losses) and buy the next release, rinse and repeat ad nauseam. See, this way the manufacturers can offset the data until the next quarter (how they try to hide their losses in the numbers). It’s a pathetic trick that businesses get away with when they don’t report sales-to-the-consumer but shipments-into-the-channel. Do you REALLY believe that Samsung sold 136 million units in a single quarter? Let’s also not forget that these same devices are usually BOGOF and the failure rates are astronomical. So now I SOLD one unit but replaced it 4 times and I can count that as an activation AND a sale each time it is replaced under warranty. Also, have you noticed the INCREASE in advertisers offering free Android phones with a purchase of a suit, car, food, etc… What a joke.

        1. Furthermore, the evidence comes straight from the horses mouth since Google announced they are NOW activating 1 million devices a month. That = 12 million ACTIVATIONS per year of ALL manufacturers of ANDROID devices which includes replacement devices under warranty replacement plans. So, do the math and it most certainly does NOT equal IDC’s report, not by a LONG shot. Who’s laughing now, huh?

          1. Get your facts straight…Google is now activating over 1.3 MILLION units per DAY. Android is DOMINATING…I see them everywhere including 95% of people at my work place.

            1. Meaningless stats regardless of truth. Google gives away the Crown Jewels for free in order to make money on advertising. Browsing statistics show Android users don’t browse very much and don’t make as many online purchases. Android would have to activate 1000 times more phones for Google to make even a minor profit from all those devices. I guess you missed the fact that search profits were down last quarter. Google’s going to need a better business model and soon as I don’t see things getting better for them anytime soon. They are now permanently removed from the core of all future iOS devices, where it just so happens all the web browsing and web purchases happen to come from. We’ll see how long it takes for them to feel the effects of that decision. Don’t forget that now Google has competition to their core competency, search. No more free lunches for Google, seems they might regret making Apple and the 400 million plus devices that go along, their enemy. So they ACTIVATE over 1 million devices a day, how many of those devices are actual sales? Without any sales data to back it up, you can’t prove that 2/3 of that stat are warranty replacements either, so don’t come at me with meaningless stats unless you can prove it. Follow the money and it leads you to APPLE.

            2. Again, get your facts straight. ACTIVATION is not not units shipped but SOLD. It means that the phone was activated through a network carrier. Latest browsing statistics shows Android is closing in fast! Remember on Android you can change your browsing ID to any platform. In fact everyone I know uses DESKTOP mode…so even people are using an Android phone it won’t register as so. As a result usage statistics for android phone are very under estimated. I Apple believe has peaked…took my profits long time ago. Unless Apple continue to innovate …I see them in a niche market in the future.

  4. If I compare Q3 now with Q3 from last year, all I see that others have diminished, most notably Symbian and Blackberry. iOS stayed the same, might even grown a bit. In short, Android has grabbed the junk. Good luck with that. iOS keeps the premium part.

  5. This just shows that there is vast oversupply in the market. Warehouses chock full of android phones that no one wants to buy whereas iPhone 5 is still back ordered a few weeks.

  6. The iPhone area on that chart will expand this holiday quarter and next quarter. In the chart above we are seeing the down stroke of the orange piston due to waiting for the iPhone 5 (like in the q3 last year, 1st column in the chart)

  7. You want numbers you can trust, look no further than the carriers. Reported active accounts will give you a clear picture of ACTUAL sales and real accounting.
    Google and Android can keep dreaming if they expect me to believe ANYTHING they say, as has been proven many times already, those guys are serial liars, period.

  8. Yes, and Big Macs are the best selling burgers in the world. And Coke is the best selling drink in the world. I haven’t had either in ages and doubt I ever will again. If Google and Samsung want to be the McDonald’s of the tech industry, let ’em be just that – purveyors of junk (food), which is exactly what they are.

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