The number of Android devices to ship in 2014 is expected to surpass one billion, while Apple could be losing ground in the smartphone space, according to two separate research reports.
Research firm Gartner estimates that the number of Android devices – which comprises PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones – shipped in 2014 will reach 1.1 billion in 2014, a 26 per cent increase on 2013.
The increase seems to be driven by pricing, with Annette Zimmerman, principal analyst at Gartner, claiming there is a “volume versus value equation”, with Android users also purchasing lower-cost devices compared to Apple users.
“Android holds the largest number of installed-base devices, with 1.9 billion in use in 2014, compared with 682 million iOS/Mac OS installed-base devices,” she added.
But while Gartner’s figures show that the number of iOS and Mac OS devices shipped each year continues to grow steadily, with 213,690 shipped in 2012; 266,769 shipped in 2013 and 344,206 expected to ship in 2014, there is evidence to suggest that this could be largely attributable to the strength of its Mac and iPad products. Analyst firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech asserted that the global iPhone market share has dropped year on year.
While there’s no doubt that the iPhone 5s and 5c models are selling well, Kantar claims that market share of iPhone models in the three months ending November 2013 fell by 3.8 per cent year on year to 17.3 per cent in Germany and by 9.9 per cent in the US to 43.1 per cent. A drop of 5.5 per cent was seen in the UK to 30.6 per cent market share and Apple’s iOS market share fell by 4.6 per cent in France where the OS now accounts for just 18.6 per cent of the market.
According to Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Apple’s loss of ground over the past year is opening the door to challengers.
“The launch of the iPhone 5S and 5C has had an impact, but Apple’s smartphone share is lower than at the same point a year ago. Resurgent performances from LG, Sony and Nokia have made making year on year share gains increasingly challenging for Apple,” he said.
“Windows Phone, for example, is now the third largest OS across Europe with 10.0 per cent – more than double its share compared with last year.”