Kantar Worldpanel publishes smartphone market share data every few months, and their latest research focuses on how the market changed during the the last quarter of the year. When you compare Q4 2013 to Q4 2012, Android gained share in every market that Kantar tracks. Looking at Europe’s five biggest countries, Android phones made up 68.6% of the devices sold during the quarter, up from 62.9%. That gain comes at the expense of a 5.2% drop in iOS market share, which went from 23.7% to 18.5%.
It’s the same story in the United States, with Android figures going up from 46.2% to 50.6% in the span of a year. Apple’s iOS on the other hand, it went from 49.7% to 43.9%. China’s Android sales hit 78.6% for the quarter, up from 73.7% a year ago, while at the same time iOS sales shrank from 38.5% to 35.2%.
So these numbers effectively show that Apple is doomed and Google has won, right? Not necessarily. Smartphones used to be considered luxury items that few could afford. Today, they’re commodities, and someone who would have bought a feature phone five years ago probably ended up buying an Android phone for Christmas.
In other words, the smartphone market is growing, and all that growth is in low end devices. Those of us who can afford to buy a 600 Euro phone have already bought one. It’s the people who have owned flip phones their whole lives that have recently decided to buy something like the Samsung Galaxy Young, Motorola Moto G, or whatever Huawei has out in China.
Ideally I’d like to see market share data split up not by country, but instead by price category, but that’s probably never going to happen, at least not for free.