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Smartphone Wars: Android Dominates China, Struggles in US While iOS Ticks Along

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

The smartphone war between Apple and Android continued as both made gains and losses at the end of 2016

Android sales declined in the US, GB and France in the three months ending November 2016, while iOS continued to make gains in most regions, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

In the US specifically this marks the sixth consecutive period of decline for Android, which dropped down to 55.3 percent of all smartphone sales compared to 60.4 percent in the same period the year before.

But it’s much better news for Apple, which can lay claim to having the three most popular smartphones in the US during the three months in the form of the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 6s, a combined market share of 31.3 percent.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge were the fourth and fifth best-selling phones in the US, enabling Samsung to capture 28.9 percent of smartphone sales.

touch screen smartphone

Android vs iOS

However, the roles are reversed in China where Android continued its dominance. iOS sales in the region were down year-on-year, from 25.3 percent in 2015 to 19.9 percent last year, despite a strong performance from the iPhone 7.

“Nearly 80 percent of all smartphones sold in Urban China during the three months ending November 2016 were Android, as local brands continued to dominate the market,” said Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia. “Huawei represented 25 percent of all sales, but its share declined 3.1 percentage points from the three-month period ending October 2016, marking only its second period of decline in more than two years.”

In EU5 – made up of Europe’s big five markets of Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain – iOS and Android both made gains as the decline of Windows continued.  The best showing for iOS was in GB where it was up 9.1 percentage points for the year ending November 2016.

“In the EU5 countries, Android accounted for 72.4 percent of smartphone sales during this period, with iOS at 24.6 percent, a strong year-on-year uptick for both ecosystems as Windows’ share declined to 2.8 percent. For Android, this represented a 2.8 percentage point decline from the October period, while strong sales of iPhone 7 boosted iOS,” explained Dominic Sunnebo, business unit director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe.

“The holiday period is always strong for Apple, but it remains to be seen if demand for the latest devices will level out in the first quarter of 2017.”

It has been an interesting few months in the world of smartphones, as Nokia announced its return to the market after its fall from grace, Google launched its own Android flagship device in the form of the Pixel and BlackBerry announced that it has officially stopped making smartphones to focus on software and services.

More recently, Apple has celebrated ten years of the iPhone and Samsung has predicted record Q4 2016 profits despite the Galaxy Note 7 disaster.

Quiz: How much do you remember about the best smartphones of 2016?