Apple iPhone takes smartphone market share from Android around the world

The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, for the three months ending in January 2015, show that Apple’s iOS reached its highest ever share in urban China with one in every four smartphones sold being an iPhone.

“Leading into Chinese New Year, Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus drove sales to an unprecedented high in urban China with iOS’ share of the smartphone market reaching 25.4% – a 4.5 percentage point increase over the same period in 2014,” reported Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “Across key global markets Apple’s momentum generally continued from last month, although Android was able to slow down the decrease in share in some countries such as Germany, Spain and France where its sales had started to look like they were in free fall.”  

“In urban China, Apple iPhone 6 was the best selling phone in the three months ending in January with a share of 9.5%,” explained Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia. “Xiaomi had several smartphones in the top 10 chart with the RedMi Note its best selling device and the second most popular product behind the iPhone 6 which has a share of 8.9%”. Over the past three months, Apple continued to close the gap with Xiaomi, which remained the leading brand in urban China but with only a 2.2 percentage point advantage.

Across Europe, Android’s share declined by 2.2 percentage points year-on-year to 67.2% while iOS rose by 3.2 percentage points. “Great Britain was once again the market that recorded the sharpest drop in Android share.” said Dominic Sunnebo, business unit director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe. “However, a more stable performance by Samsung was able to hold share quarter-on-quarter and an improved performance by Motorola and HTC helped overall Android sales.” In Britain, Samsung’s Galaxy S5 was the second best selling smartphone with a share of 8.0%, just under half that of the iPhone 6 at 17.6%. The iPhone 6 was also the best selling smartphone in France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

For the three months ending in January 2015, 13.9% of iOS customers in the US switched over from an Android device – up from 12.1% in the three-month ending in December.

“As vendors flocked to Mobile World Congress this week to showcase their latest products it is noticeable how many have decided to focus on the mid-tier as success at the high-end appears more and more unattainable,” Milanesi concluded. “However, while mid-tier consumers might be more accessible than high-end ones, manufacturers will have to work harder than ever to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace.”

Smartphone OS Sales Share (%) for 3 months ending (m/e) January 2015 vs. 3 m/e Jan 2014

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech: Smartphones 3 months ending January 2014
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech: Smartphones 3 months ending January 2014

Source: Kantar Worldpanel ComTech


  1. in China, the emergence of a middle class coincides perfectly with AAPL’s own forays into the market, where the impulse is no longer to the lowest common denominator, but rather for quality and status.

    Interestingly, if you look at AAPL’s SAMN graph of product trajectories over the past, say, 2 or so years, and China’s own JAM graph of consumer spending, the increasingly large intersection of BACN (+- BUN) almost hits you over the head on the VENN diagram.

  2. Android has not collapsed nearly enough, this needs to be a total wasteland. Android has to end up being the bargain basement bin, cheapskate loser phones.

    I’m not sure Apple can manufacture enough iPhones to fill that gap but I bet they can soon, they already make about 1/3 of the smartphones sold in most major markets at the lowest end.

    1. With Apple already taking >90% of the mobile profits, your wish has already come true.
      And it doesn’t matter whether they sell cheapskate phones or expensive phones, the Android landscape was converted to an absolute toxic waste-dump last quarter with the iPhone 6 vaporizing everything from horizon to horizon.
      And most of the Android camp is still in complete denial about this.

    1. I’m not an analyst (nor do I pretend to be), but my guess is, between 90 and 95% would be more than enough. Remember, there are hardware makers out there who may still be trying to “get the market share”, even if that means not getting ANY profits (MS, for example).

      As a matter of fact, in some narrower sub-categories, Apple is taking more than 100% of the profit, in that some competitors are losing substantial money on each unit sold, so the when we calculate the net profit from all sales in such sub-category (revenue minus factory price), Apple’s share is actually greater than that net, because of the losses of competitors.

      1. Apple has only about 20% of market share now, but about 90% of profit-share. Seems likely that at about 30% market share, Apple will have all the profits. {(No analysis, I just SWAGed it.) Sophisticated Wild Assed Guess}. 😀

        1. Here’s a little more in-depth analysis based on your SWAG. Samsung has about 25% of the smartphone market and is just about the only other vendor who is turning a profit. How much of their market share does Apple need to take to take all of Samsung’s profits? Probably not all, but let’s say 50%-75% of their most profitable customers would give Apple all the profits. So maybe 33% to 40% share of the smartphone market is my SWAG.

  3. Wow.. Love the spin.. Last time there was a Kantar 3 month report it was only Japan that had a share loss for iOS.. Now France joins it. Two of the more fashion conscious countries are selling more Android than iOS.. Seems Android is not doing as bad as the article seems to make it sound.

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