IDC: Android worldwide smartphone market share passes 80%

Google’s Android operating system reached a new milestone during the third quarter of 2013 (3Q13), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. With a total base of 211.6 million smartphone units shipped during the quarter, Android accounted for 81.0% of all smartphone shipments, marking the first time that Android has topped 80% unit share. Despite high saturation rates in a number of mature markets, the overall smartphone space grew 39.9% year-over-year in the third quarter.

Also reaching a milestone was Microsoft’s Windows Phone, which grew 156.0% year over year. Volumes started from a small base of 3.7 million units a year ago and overall market share is still less than five percent. “Android and Windows Phone continued to make significant strides in the third quarter. Despite their differences in market share, they both have one important factor behind their success: price,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team, in a statement.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, the Android and Windows Phone assemblers are very successful at attracting the customers that Apple does not want.

Smartphone average selling prices (ASPs) have continued to decline as the appetite for more affordable devices grows. ASPs were down -12.5% in 3Q13, accounting for an average price of $317. At the same time, the market has seen a large influx of large-screen smartphones (5-7” screens), also known as phablets. Large-screen devices generally come with a higher selling price than smaller screen devices, due to the need for more powerful and expensive components. Phablet ASPs in 3Q13 were notably higher than the market average at $443. However, the 3Q13 ASP was down -22.8% from the $573 phablet ASP in 3Q12.

MacDailyNews Take: The race to the bottom is a race which Apple smartly refuses to run. Ask Dell who wins.

“Almost all successful Android vendors have added one or more 5-7-inch phablets to their product portfolios,” said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in a statement. “And Nokia’s recent announcement of the Lumia 1320 and 1520 put them in the category as well. In 3Q13, phablet shipments accounted for 21% of the smartphone market, up from just 3% a year ago. We believe the absence of a large-screen device may have contributed to Apple’s inability to grow share in the third quarter.”

Operating System Highlights

Google’s Android pushed past 80% market share for the first time in 3Q13, a testament to its broad and deep list of vendors, including four of the top five vendors worldwide. While Android, as a whole, moved forward, the vast majority of its vendors still struggle to find meaningful market share. Samsung accounted for 39.9% of all Android shipments for the quarter, while the rest of the vendors either saw single-digit market share or, in the case of the majority of vendors, market share of less than 1%.

Apple’s iOS, despite seeing its total volumes increase and reaching new record third quarter volumes, saw its market share decline during 3Q13, most likely due to soft demand in the weeks leading up to the launch of new iPhones. Still, if the 9 million units sold during the last week of September is any indication of future adoption, iOS stands to reap another record quarter in terms of volumes, market share, and year-over-year growth.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone posted the largest year-over-year growth worldwide of any of the leading operating systems, a result primarily driven by the support of Nokia. By itself, Nokia accounted for 93.2% of all the Windows Phone-powered smartphones shipped during the quarter, marking a new milestone in the company’s short history on the Microsoft platform. Participation from other vendors, meanwhile, still seemed a mixed bag with more vendors participating from a year ago, but volumes still far behind Nokia’s own.

Beleaguered BlackBerry recorded the largest year-over-year decline among the leading operating systems during 3Q13. Underpinning its results was softer demand for its new BB10 operating system and continued demand for its older BB7 within emerging markets. Now with a new CEO in place and an infusion of $1 billion, what remains to be seen is how and when the beleaguered operating system will be able to change course in the face of mounting pressure from Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.

Top Four Operating Systems, Shipments, and Market Share, Q3 2013 (Units in Millions)
IDC: Top Four Operating Systems, Shipments, and Market Share, Q3 2013 (Units in Millions)
Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, November 12, 2013
Note: Data are preliminary and subject to change. Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.

Source: International Data Corporation

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43 Comments

  1. I disagree completely. There’s a huge flaw in this study: is Apple is the only maker a real “smartphone” it has 100% share of this market. Lumping dumbphones like Androids in the mix skews the results.

    1. Why? Because 80% is a “big number”? There’s absolutely no reason for Apple to be worried, because that number is absolutely meaningless. Lumping all “smartphones” into one category is idiotic, because it implies Apple is “competing” with cheap, no-name Android crap-phones running an obsolete version of the OS.

      Oh, we’ll have to put up with Android apologists gleefully touting the huge market share number. But then we’ll snicker when those same idiots, in their next breath, whine about how their phones aren’t getting the best apps and how that makes no sense! The patient among us will then try to explain that not all smartphones, or smartphone owners, are created equally.

      No, Apple has nothing to worry about. When iOS stops creaming Android in global internet usage, then Apple can start thinking about worrying.

      ——RM

      1. Agreed. Android, as a term, is meaningless. New Android phones can come with 4.0, 41, 4.2, 4.3, 2.x. They’re getting better with the 4.x, but still not there yet. 80% of continued fragmentation.

        And while the idiot Fandroid suggests 2.x only comes with $0 phones, I can reply that the $0 iPhone (4s) comes with the latest OS. NO EXCUSES.

        1. Sling around labels all you want, Apple is losing potential sales by offering old products for no money down. When 80% of all new mobiles sold don’t run iOS apps, then guess where future app development efforts will be focused. In the long run, market share matters, and Apple is losing the long game.

          1. Not totally true while profit potential for apps is still massively with iOS but I do agree that this will be chipped away if the market share gap continues and iOS continues to decline to the point tests here numbers outweigh other factors. Always felt that Apple ideally needed around 20% market share! at least in major and wealthier markets but that is a hopeless target now in most markets which for me hints at complacency. Worst aspect is that it has sadly reduced its ability to push through technologies that need wider adoption to succeed. If they should lose the number 2 spot that could be a serious setback.

          2. The hole in your argument, Mike, is that Android has had FAR more market share than Apple for quite some time. This isn’t a new development (no pun intended) AT ALL. Yet, developers are still following the money trail. iOS is profitable for everyone.

            Similar to what spyintheskyuk said, if another OS rises above iOS (Windows Mobile, perhaps), then I’d start to worry.

            Android, for all its market share, is simply generic, ESPECIALLY if the numbers are including China, where “Android” has a completely different meaning.

            Lastly, you know how people read anecdotes on forums like this about security flaws, I happen to know 2 people now (yes, I know the irony — this is anecdotal to you) that have had real-life problems with Android. One was an out and out virus on an HTC. The other was, at best, a SPAM attack that went through my friend’s contacts and sent SMS messages to everyone. This was on a Galaxy Sx (not sure if she has the 3 or 4).

            1. No, there is no hole in my argument.

              Apple had a head start. It will take several years of higher sales before Android catches up. My point, which seems to be lost on the ardent iOS fans, is that the Android ecosystem _is_ catching up in total units deployed. Cook thinks all is well because the App store is firing on all cylinders today, and cash is flowing in. Problem is, if Apple can’t gain a foothold in emerging markets, where growth is, then Android will have the upper hand in a few years. People who start out with one platform — yes, even the junk non-updatable “feature phones” — tend to stick with what they know, especially when there’s no compelling difference in app selection (which is rapidly becoming the case. iOS no longer dominates in release of the latest and best apps).

            2. According to the Accessibles survey of August 2013:

              iOS has a cumulative 617,436 apps
              Android has 484,271
              Windows Mobile has 156,317

              That’s about where the average Apple fanboy stops reading. HOWEVER,

              806 iOS apps are updated each day on average
              2341 Android updates per day
              179 WinMob updates per day

              and then we get to the “dead apps” problem:

              65% of iOS apps have zero updates and less than 10 reviews.
              41% of Android apps are “dead”
              69% of WinMob apps are “dead”

              Sorry, but all trends show that Apple’s lead is vanishing. It would be wise to keep making iOS more user-friendly, more flexible, and more accessible to more people in more markets, which would keep Apple relevant for the long run instead of repeating the Mac trend where the superior product lost, and is still losing, the app comparison, and yes, the profit comparison too. Windows makes more money than the Mac OS, for obvious reasons. Because Apple didn’t foster adequate market share.

      2. From a revenue perspective, “how…phones aren’t getting the best apps” and “global internet usage” do not directly affect the manufacturers, nor, it would seem, their market share. To dismiss their end-users as “customers that Apple does not want” (MDN’s take), implies that, all other feature superiorities aside, Apple’s only revenue interests lie in its price points and margins within a pretty significantly surrounded 20 percentile. Such “carriage trade” strategy underlies all luxury items from cars to wines.

        Going forward, expecting an expanding differential in market share among developing economies is unlikely. As it is, Apple’s biggest advantage is the churn it creates among its customer base, whose affluence permits them to continually upgrade to new iterations of Apple products. In that way, its 20% multiplied by, say, 50% repeat customers, overtime raises revenues without significantly increasing market share. All else is bragging rights.

        1. You’re overly complicating your analysis. The low end of the price scale is low margin and generates little additional revenue through app purchases. Therefore there’s simply not much incentive to go after that market if you’re doing well in the mid and high end.

          ——RM

    2. Worried Why? Apple isn’t creating products to dominate market share. For Apple to have dominance in the market is a resulting byproduct of great design whereas the competitors are flooding the market with utter cheapness in order to compete.

      Pretty simple and it has Always been Apple’s mantra.

      1. Judging by internet usage and app purchases, the majority of recipients of android BOGO’s and free w/contract will be fully satisfied with getting as long a life out of their cheap, souped-up feature phones that to up-grade — or should that be “degrade” — their device would be a moot concept.

    3. What this study fails to show, like so many IDC studies, is that most of the phones counted, especially Android phones, are cheap “feature phones” like those sold in China, not true smartphones of the class in which Apple sells its iPhone.

      This is a critical distinction, and for this reason, disqualifies the data behind the IDC study.

      The vast majority of what are counted as Android phones are cheap models that lack features that would have them truly compete in the class of the iPhone. Apple does not compete on market share, and never has. Doing so would commoditize the iPhone.

      Competing on price alone is the last refuge of a manufacturer. When a company has nothing with which to distinguish its product, and competes on price as a commodity, the company’s margins compress dramatically. This is what has happened to even the largest beige box PC assemblers, and the result can be seen with Dell.

      Apple wisely does not choose to play this game. While commodity pressures have increased on Apple, the iPhone continues to distinguish itself with unique features and functions, such as 64-bit capabilities, TouchID, iOS and the Apple product/service ecosystem, along with the value of Apple’s design.

      What matters to Apple is profit per phone sold, and profit from related services, not market share. Throughout the years, IDC has shown a distinct anti-Apple bias, and their studies are often carefully skewed against Apple.

      When reading the article above, take the assertions of IDC with a large handful of salt.

  2. HA… so your only argument is that Apple’s phones are better? Listen as a user since the early 90’s, I like their products but really, they are going to lose this fight just like the desktop unless they fight off all the rip off artist… and even then, it could be to late… might want to pull out that cover that shows the apple logo like christ and start PRAYING!!!!

    1. No, the argument is that Apple’s phones are the only phones truly being used as smartphones. That’s a slight exaggeration, but how else do you explain how Android consistently loses in internet usage share, despite their considerable market share lead? All those Android phones and tablets just aren’t used very much.

      ——RM

      1. Yup. I helped a guy a few days ago set up wifi on his Samsung Android phone.
        – he didn’t know what model of phone he had
        – he didn’t know what version of Android he was using
        – he never used his phone to access the internet, not even email or texting
        Now, contrary to that, there are Android users that do use their phones heavily. But the point is that there are groups of users that don’t use Android phones as “smartphones”, but rather just as glorified feature phones. So counting them is pointless.

        When I was tapping around this guy’s phone, I learned that he was running Android 4.0.4 and I found the interface to be clunky and confusing. No wonder he wasn’t using it… it wasn’t fun to use or simple! I lost context of where I was so many times in a very short time. I found myself staring at the phone trying to digest what I was looking at. Was it a Home screen? Was it something els? Why does “Wi-Fi” have its own app? I was just puzzled!

    2. My conclusion is that moms and dads everywhere are buying their kids the cheap stuff because kids break things.
      Kids want toys and games like angry birds.
      Keep the real Apple based users to the adults.

      We also have to consider that Apple just recently began selling in more countries too. So with time it could pick up.

    3. “they are going to lose this fight just like the desktop ”

      Lose the desktop?

      that’s one of the biggest MYTHS around.

      Macs make 40 of all PC profits. I.e ALL the other PC makers like Dell, Asus, Acer, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, HP etc plus dozens of others COMBINED make up the other 60%

      Lenovo the biggest PC maker in the world and one of the largest cell phone OEMs according to the press had an EPIC record breaking quarter with profits according to CNET SURGING to an astounding….. $ 220 m!!!
      Meanwhile Apple only made a paltry 7500 m !!! i.e 7300 m more !!
      (for dumb fandroids: sarcasm implied. Just wanted to show you the bs the press spew out that gives us the MYTH of Mac losing, they treat money losing PC makers on a different scale of success than apple .. )

      Apple lost the PC desktop?

      Did you notice floundering Dell just got SOLD.
      IBM stopped making PCs years ago.
      Gateway gone (remember the corner stores every where?),
      wikipedia: “Gateway continued to suffer major losses as well as market share in the PC business.[11] By April 1, 2004, Gateway had announced that it would shut down its 188 remaining stores… ”

      Compaq gone, HP debating to stop PC sales (fired numerous CEOs for PC failure),
      Ballmer FIRED …. etc.

      Meanwhile Macs make billions.
      shoot Apple Macs are so successful apple can afford to GIVE OSX away while MSFT has to charge $100 for (crippled) Windows HOME edition ( a lot more for Pro versions )

      when you play and you WALK AWAY WITH ALL THE CHIPS and your opponents LIE DEAD OR FLOUNDERING did you WIN or LOSE? lol.

      (man, I would love to have a ‘losing ‘ business like Macs… )

  3. I don’t know if it is entirely correct to say that Apple doesn’t want those customers.

    Jobs once said, “I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do.”

    That doesn’t sound like someone who is willing to cast off 80% of the market. I don’t know what Apple can do about that though. They aren’t going to give away iOS.

    Still I always say, “Data lies, and incomplete data lies completely.”

    A significant portion of those smartphones are iPhone knock offs. They look like iPhones and run some bastardized version of Android. There are people like me who have an Android phone out of curiosity and the need to test things with, but my primary phone is an iPhone. I’m sure there are all sorts of caveats in this 80%, not the least of which is that they don’t make a dime for Google.

    The analysts whined and moaned about Apple making a cheaper iPhone. They still don’t get it. The reason we buy Apple products is because they’re not cheaply made crap. We buy them because they are well made and we enjoy them. A well made Apple product can make an otherwise dull task fun to do and that’s worth paying for. Yes, there are those who purchase Apple products out of a sense of what is fashionable, but I don’t think that’s the majority by any stretch of the imagination.

    It’s about what matters to you. There’s a reason I buy clothes at discount prices from wherever on the Internet as opposed to Burberry. Heh.

  4. The real question is the definition of “smartphone”. We all know there are tons of phones that run some form of Android, but don’t even have basic smartphone functions like a working browser, email, etc.

    Regardless, the important part of the study is the selling price. The iPhone is almost twice any other phone system.

  5. Tim Cook the train conductor who is driving the mobile phone train from the conductor’s seat says, “Hold on a minute, Android’s share isn’t 80%, it’s 90%. You forgot to add the 10% that I’ve managed to win for Android. How? It’s easy. By making iOS 7 look like Android, I’ve managed to save face by saying that iOS belongs to the 90% demographic.”

    Tim Cook is running so scared of Android that he made Ive the clueless make iOS 7 mimic the look and feel of Android to fool buyers into buying iPhones. Ive is like a totally clueless ticket puncher here, no originality in iOS 7 at all whatsoever. It’s all ripped off from Android.

  6. Android phones are the new cheap flip phones. If someone wants a cell phone but doesn’t think they need an iPhone, they get an Android. Then they never use it for anything but texting and calling.

    So if Android has 80% of that market, who the hell cares.

  7. Wish these morons would put things into perspective rather than just dumping numbers.

    First of all, of course Android is going to take the largest share of the market. There are OEMs who do not have the ability to create their own OS and need to get it from somewhere else. Any electronics company can take parts and put them together to build a device, but there are very few that can develop and maintain an operating system and/or services. This is what happened in the PC market – all the companies that did make their own OS eventually had to either shut down or switch to licensing Windows from Microsoft as they couldn’t sustain development costs while the prices of PCs fell to the floor and causing margins and profits to dry up.

    Second, “Android” is not a company or even a single platform. It’s a broad based term used to describe ANY OS that was previously based off Google’s operating system. Google is not winning at anything other than preventing a single company from dominating the mobile space, which is actually a good thing as far as I’m concerned. (Honestly do we really want a repeat of the late 90’s when Microsoft controlled the PC market and was able to screw up web development so bad, it took almost a decade to get back on track?) Android does not enable Google or any other company to wield any kind of power over other companies – at least not yet.

    And finally, even if Android had 90% market share, iOS is not “losing the war” or going away anytime soon. Apple sold almost 250 million iOS devices this last fiscal year and is set to approach 300 million this year. That’s a single company MAKING MONEY and expanding their platform with users and consumers willing to spend money – iTunes has almost 600 million active accounts. Apple continues to sell more and more devices, from Apple’s point of view, that’s a great thing regardless of how much marketshare they currently have.

    These “monopoly” like share numbers worked for Microsoft, because they controlled it – no single company controls Android or even benefits from it. End of story.

    1. Also wanted to add to that last paragraph…

      Users certainly don’t benefit from Android’s large marketshare. They can’t get updates on a timely basis or even at all. Developers aren’t singling out Android and writing “killer apps” for it. There is no single “Android” platform (ecosystem) which causes user confusion. Etc.

      Basically, as its marketshare grows from the bottom, Android becomes more synonymous with “cheap phone”.

      iOS, on the other hand, continues as “mobile computing” and pushes the meaning of it forward.

      1. To add, when and if I need technical support, I call Apple. I get high quality, professional support without having to struggle to understand what the other person is saying with their strong accent. Who does an Android user call for support? Do they call Google, their phone carrier, the OEM? Talk about a cluster fu¢k. I was just at a guitar show and I bought a really cool device that uses my iPhone or iPad to control and work with the effects emulator for my electric guitar. My friend who was with me and has an Android tablet asked if there was a version of the app that would run on his device. He was told no and there were no plans to do so. I consider myself an iDevice power user. I have about 130 apps on my iPhone, nicely organized in folders too. Why would anyone want to buy a kludgy, hobbled together, poorly supported, non-intuitive, hard to use, limited in apps that are poorly created compared to the iDevice counterpart, is beyond me. As was pointed out in several posts already, most of the Android users are using a phone they got cheap or got one of those BOGO deals. They don’t have a clue or don’t care about perusing the net, reading a book, or learning how to play guitar with their phone or tablet. They just use it to make phone calls and text message, period. Seems like a silly waste. This strategy will not lead to any kind of brand loyalty, or lock-in. These users would be better served with a flip phone. There’s a reason Apple users are loyal to their platform. That loyalty is something the other OEM’s can only envy. They may be doing ok today, but long term, I don’t think so. Apple will always have a decently large base of users who will be able to sustain Apple for many more years to come. Call the competition say the same?

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