Windows Phone Growth Slows As Apple Market Share Bounces Back

Latest figures show Windows Phone is struggling from mid-range Androids while Apple benefits from Japan, Australia and Europe

Apple’s share of the worldwide smartphone market was given a boost by demand for the iPhone 5S during the first quarter of 2014, but Windows Phone’s recent success in Europe has slowed somewhat with competition from mid-range Android handsets limiting its growth

Research from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows Apple made gains in Australia, Europe (including the UK) and Japan – the only major market where iOS is the most popular operating system.

Sales in the Asian country were boosted by NTT DoCoMo’s decision to finally stock Apple smartphones, which accounted for 42 percent of all sales on the network, 59 percent on rival operator KDDI AU and 81 percent on Softbank.

Smartphone market share

windows phone 8.1 featured“Apple regained ground in the first quarter of 2014, primarily due to the strong performance of the iPhone 5S, growing its sales share in Europe, Japan and Australia,” says Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “By contrast, Windows had a tough start to the year as a result of its entry-level Nokia models facing fierce competition from low-end Motorola, LG and Samsung Android smartphones.”

Windows Phone has enjoyed some success in Europe over the past two years, but its share of the biggest five markets on the continent (UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain) has fallen from 10.3 percent in the previous quarter to 8.1 percent in the past three months, although this is still up 1.6 percentage points year-on-year. Microsoft will hope its recent acquisition of Nokia’s devices business will turn things round.

Unsurprisingly, Android remains the most popular operating system in Europe with 70.7 percent of the market, a 1.5 percent change year-on-year, while iOS saw its share go up by 0.1 percentage points to 19.2 percent – an increase from 18.5 percent during the previous quarter.

In the UK, smartphone penetration is now 71 percent, with 80 percent of all handsets sold in the past three months being smart devices. Android is the most popular platform in Britain too, although its share has shrunk year-on-year by 2.2 percentage points to 56.2 percent, while iOS has gained 3.4 points during the same period to record a 32.1 percent share.

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