Kantar: Android gains, Apple’s iOS loses market share across the board

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


  1. Quit reporting on thee market share guesstimates. None of theses Android OEMs provide shipment dats so these figures are meaningless. The only numbers that matter are what Apple reported yesterday and the only market that was down this quarter was North America.

  2. Android is a free OS. It’s ‘market share dominance’ is meaningless when it could be installed on a smoke alarm or a fridge. It’s comparing Apples with sausages.

    1. It’s worse than that…

      From the Kantar website:

      “We work with an extensive range of companies owned by our parent company WPP…”

      “Since 2009, Kantar has supplied the data that drives a research programme run jointly between Google and WPP…”

      Kantar is a subsidiary of WPP, which is partnering with Google. The data is worthless.

    2. Apple could also put iOS on low cost devices like thermostats and smoke alarms. Apple could create a home products division for such devices. I could be a replacement for the dying iPod division or lineup or whatever it’s called. It’s seems like Apple could do an awful lot of things but doesn’t seem interested in doing very much at all. (based on my limited knowledge about Apple’s future products)

  3. Going to have to disagree with MDN’s take above… I know of several people who switch from iPhone to an Android phone simply because of NEEDING a larger display – vision problems. However, all of them that switched were NOT invested in the iOS ecosystem and were not a part of it. They didn’t own any other Apple devices, and they RARELY bought any apps. Moving to Android didn’t get them anymore involved in that mess of an ecosystem either. When and if Apple ever produces an iPhone with a larger display, it will be JUST as easy for them to switch back.

    This whole notion of “leaving money on the table” is the same logic used to argue why Apple needed to create a cheap expandable Mac, or even a netbook. Just look at the iPad mini. Everyone was screaming that Apple would lose the tablet market if they didn’t produce a smaller tablet. Well they did, and they still continued to lose market share, even though they continued to sell more and more tablets. Having a larger iPhone, isn’t going to change the fact that Apple will continue to lose market share as smartphones expand into developing countries where the bottom grows first, then slowly, but eventually, sales begin to move up market.

    People need to stop using “market share” as a measurement of how well a company is doing. Apple just reported over $13US billion in profit from ONE quarter! That’s more than most of their competitors’ profits combined for the entire year!

    1. Hang on Apple was losing market share in tablets head over heals and that was greatly reduced when they launched the mini which is why it performed so much better this year than last. There is a difference between losing market share unnecessarily and losing it because of the rise in low end crap that it won’t and should not compete in. The iPhone is losing high quality market share because of the screen issue. The iPad WAS losing high end market share until it launched the mini. The phone mistake is a big one which is allowing competitors especially Samsung to sell phones and profits they would otherwise not make and secondly because of that allows them to hit Apples products from a stringer position. The fact that they are now struggling themselves a little just shows how they could have been hit so much harder had Apple competed in these high end products of a different size.

    2. But Apple shareholders are getting their clocks cleaned because of market share loss, so what is Apple supposed to do about that. Should Apple shareholders simply sell their stock because no gains are to be had? If Wall Street investors are only interested in market share, what do you recommend Apple should do? Just curious.

    1. Might as well NOT say that. Ferrari does not depend upon selling hundreds of thousands of cars to turn a big profit in the way that Apple depends upon selling hundreds of thousands of phones to turn a profit and develop an ecosystem so that app developers build for iPhone first, Android second.

        1. Well he isn’t actually wrong is he as that is not mutually exclusive. Fact is it still needs to maintain a reasonable market share. The loss in Italy is very concerning and if it were repeated elsewhere the doom mongers might actually have a point as the third place contender will struggle.

  4. Apples current approach to growth has ended. They have tapped out Iphone revisions and had a serious misstep with the IPHONEC which has been a big miss. Instead of releasing that abomination they should have released a larger screen iphone. They could have kept the previous Iphone 5 or even tweaked the Iphone 4s with more ram. Apple just got caught trying to cut cost on Iphone with the C and the market retaliated. Though they shipped 51 million you’ll probably find that was nearly all 5s and very little 5C. 5C needs to go away like the Square Ipod Mini and they need to get that larger screen iphone out now.

  5. Just when you thought that analysts had finally worked out that market share is meaningless unless you’re making a profit too, they’re back again telling everybody that market share is suddenly important again ( except it still isn’t important ).

    1. Yes, I’m beginning to think of them as cleverly programmed clones, with no will or independent thought and with personalities selected from a palette. They serve as tools of a Meme Master.

  6. Gosh! Apple today says it has posted record iPad and iPhone sales, yet the pundits claim Apple is losing market share, and Samsung didn’t meet profit forecasts. What does all this mean? Can we go somewhere to get a reality check?

  7. All the MDN apologetics notwithstanding, the company under the current leadership is in full reverse gear. Sooner or later the malfeasant Apple board of directors are going to have to realize that barbarians are gathering and approaching the Cupertino gate.

  8. Since the smartphone market is rapidly increasing to the point where anyone with a phone has a smartphone, market share becomes even more meaningless. More than ever these figures need context. That context is provided by looking at profit share, by looking at the type of customers platforms are gaining.

    It’s one thing to want to increase the number of people buying high end (expensive) products, but the simple fact is that the majority of the market is always going to be the low end, through a combination of physically not being able to afford anything else, not needing anything else, and being cheap/stupid.

    In the same way that the computer market got skewed for a period because companies were selling load of cheap crappy netbooks, the smartphone market is being redefined to include cheap phones which are smartphones in name only.

  9. The only people reveling in this news are probably the Linux Penguin nerds. Since Android is just a Linux distro for dumbphones and tablets, the Penguinheads would be using these stats for yet another “This is the year of Linux!” article. These guys really are getting their hopes up way to high…

  10. MDN, I love you guys, but frankly you are idiots to put up this FUD fest. The original Kantar report is more nuanced. And even it does not reveal the implications of its numbers. Consider, example, the 19.0% market share it estimates in China in the last quarter of 2013. This is 633% higher than the 3% that Counterpoint Research found for last September. In short, all indications are that the iPhone is gaining marketshare in China, but garbage articles such as this one disguise that fact.

    1. Honest question: what precisely has Tim done to inspire your trust?

      Frankly, it looks that new buyers – and hence also large investors – have lost faith in Cook. iOS7 clearly didn’t attract many new buyers. Other companies offer wider ranges of hardware at pretty good values. Without more new product announcements, Apple continues to lose its mojo. Until investors hear that Apple growth is keeping up with the industry, and Apple product introduction keeps pace with the copycats, Cook’s just riding on a coasting train, enjoying the profits from Job’s App Store.

      I don’t like it, but how else do you explain the fact that Apple sales growth is weak compared to all other smartphone vendors, and AAPL stock is flatter than Oklahoma?

  11. Low market share yet every study about web usage or online shopping shows Apple iOS devices as a dominant majority.
    Just what are people doing with all these android devices?

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