Android Maintains UK And European Dominance

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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Samsung fuels Android success in the UK but local manufacturers in China continue to make waves

Android remains the most popular smartphone operating system in the UK and Europe, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s latest figures, which also reveal that Apple’s market share is contracting slightly while Windows Phone is making some gains.

Google’s mobile platform was present on 75.1 percent of all smartphones sold in Europe’s five biggest markets (Italy, Spain, Germany, France and the UK), a year-on-year increase from 71.1 percent. This placed it ahead of iOS, whose share fell from 16.1 percent to 14.5 percent, and Windows Phone which increased from 7.6 percent to 8.5 percent.

In the UK, Android’s 59.5 percent share is a bit more modest, but still up from 57 percent last year, with Apple’s portion is slipping by 0.8 percentage points to 28.6 percent. Windows Phone’s success in Britain continues, with Microsoft’s operating system improving from 7.1 percent to 9.9 percent in the past 12 months.

Android dominance

Android’s popularity in the UK has been partly attributed to the ongoing success of Samsung, especially the Galaxy S5 handset. Analysts say the Korean manufacturer is increasingly reliant on existing customers purchasing newer models as the smartphone market saturates.

Android“Some 52 percent of customers who bought a Samsung Galaxy S5 in Great Britain had previously owned a Samsung model, while 20 percent were previous Apple owners, and 18 percent moved from HTC,” explains Kantar’s Dominic Sunnebo. “Apple is very good at giving existing customers a reason to remain loyal to the brand and to upgrade to new models when released. Samsung is becoming increasingly adept at employing the same tactic.”

Samsung recently revealed the Galaxy Alpha handset as a pre-emptive attack against the upcoming iPhone 6, which could debut as soon as 9 September, improving Apple’s performance in the next year.

Chinese market

However in China, it is local manufacturers who are boosting Android’s dominance. Xiaomi now controls 31.6 percent of the urban Chinese market, ahead of both Samsung and Huawei.

“We have seen huge shifts in power in the Chinese smartphone market over the past year. Xiaomi has been the standout performer and Huawei has also seen excellent growth, while Coolpad has increased its share more modestly from 5.2% to 6.1% over the year,” adds Sunnebo.

“Considering the success of rapidly growing local brands in the Chinese market, it will be only a question of time before they seek further expansion internationally in a similar way to Huawei, and more recently Xiaomi.”

Xiaomi was recently forced to apologise and issue an update for a “loophole” in its cloud messaging service that sent a phone, SIM and contact information to a server in China without user consent. 

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