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Android Remains UK’s Most Popular Mobile OS

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Android remains number one, but Apple retains market share, says Kantar WorldPanel ComTech

Android retained its position as the most popular mobile operating system in Europe, according to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, with Apple losing ground in some markets, but retaining strong shares in important ones, such as the US, UK, China and Japan.

Google’s mobile OS now commands a 68.6 percent share of the European smartphone market, ahead of Apple on 18.5 percent and Windows Phone at 10.3 percent. Android is the most popular in the UK too, commanding a 54.9 percent share, a minor year-on-year increase.

Apple’s UK share has decreased by 2.5 percent since last year, but Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, believes the company’s remaining 29.9 percent share is cause for optimism.

Apple strength

apple-vs-android“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 percent in USA, 29.9 percent in Great Britain and 19.0 percent in China,” he says.

BlackBerry’s share of the UK market has halved in the past 12 months, but Windows Phone’s has risen from 5.9 percent this time last year to 11.3 percent. However its European share is flat quarter-on-quarter and Sunnebo suggests slow growth rates could harm Microsoft and Nokia going forward.

“Windows Phone has now held double digit share across Europe for three consecutive months,” he explains. “Unfortunately for Nokia the European smartphone market is only growing at 3 percent 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.”

Rise of China

Samsung too is feeling the heat. After years of success, the Korean manufacturer is under pressure in most regions and its European share has fallen by 2.3 percent to 40.3 percent. Its Chinese share remains at 23.7 percent, but Kantar believes that pressure from local brands, including Hugo Barra-backed Xiaomi, is affecting both Samsung and Apple in the country.

“It’s no surprise that everyone is concentrating on high growth China, but currently local brands are proving clear winners,” says Sunnebo. “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.”

Xiaomi says it plans to sell 40 million smartphones in 2014, but Apple is hoping that its distribution deal with China Mobile will allow it to compete effectively against its ambitious new local rival.

At least there is one Asian country that can’t get enough of Apple. A recently-inked deal with NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest operator, has seen Apple’s market share in the country boosted to 68.7 percent.

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