Android Still Mobile OS Leader Despite Defections To New iPhones

Kantar Worldpanel figures show large number of new iOS users switched from Android

Apple’s latest iPhones have caused more Android users to switch operating systems than ever before, research has found.

Findings from market research firm Kantar Worldpanel has revealed that the popularity of Apple’s iOS devices continued to grow in Europe’s five largest countries, reaching a 20.3 percent overall market share – 1.8 percentage points higher than in 2014.

This was fuelled by an increasing number of Android users switching to iOS devices, lured in mainly by the release of Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones. Overall, 32.4 percent of Apple’s new customers switched to iOS from Android – although in the UK this figure was only 25.6 percent.

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However Google’s mobile OS, which is set to see the latest version announced later this month, still holds top ground in Europe, controlling 68.4 percent of the total market, although this still represents a 3.1 percent decline since last year.

“In the first quarter of 2015, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus continued to attract consumers across Europe, including users who previously owned an Android smartphone,” said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Elsewhere, there was more bad news for Microsoft, as the figures showed that the market share of Windows Phone failed to grow in the U.S. and Europe during the past year— with the exception of France where market share grew to 14.1 percent this quarter.

“If we dig a little deeper,” Milanesi added, “it is easy to see the strong value proposition that the Lumia portfolio offers, as Windows phone sales in the U.S. skew towards the prepay market (20 percent) and installment plans (51 percent). Microsoft is betting that new Windows 10 functions and the ability for developers to easily port Android apps to Windows will make the Windows ecosystem more appealing.”

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A separate Kantar report found that the number of phablet devices (smartphones with a screen size larger than 5.5in) sold in the US has nearly quadrupled in the space of a year.

Overall, 21 percent of all US smartphone sales in Q1 2015 were phablet devices, driven by the likes of Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, which took 44 percent of the phablet segment.

Screen size was also cited as the main reason for buying a particular phone by both iOS and Android buyers at 43 percent and 47 percent, respectively.

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