Windows Phone share climbs in Europe

Smartphone operating system Windows Phone has seen its most successful quarter in five major European markets, according to research published this week. The platform won 9.2 per cent smartphone market share across Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain for the three months ended August 2013, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

The research firm said that sales of Microsoft devices put it just one per cent behind iOS in Germany, and that with 10.8 per cent of the French smartphone market and 12 per cent in the UK, it is the first time the platform has recorded double digits in two major markets.

But the improved performance for Windows came during a quiet three months for Apple. The quarter before an iPhone launch is traditionally a slow period for iOS devices and Apple launched two smartphones in September, the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. Apple saw combined sales of nine million units worldwide in the first three days of launch.

Android remains the top operating system across Europe with a sizeable 70.1 per cent market share, but according to Kanter Worldpanel, the platform’s growth trails behind both Windows Phone and iOS.

“After years of increasing market share, Android has now reached a point where significant growth in developed markets is becoming harder to find,” said Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

“Android’s growth has been spearheaded by Samsung, but the manufacturer is now seeing its share of sales across the major European economies dip year on year as a sustained comeback from Sony, Nokia and LG begins to broaden the competitive landscape.”

Sunnebo added that Windows Phone’s latest wave of growth is being driven by Nokia’s expansion into the low and mid range market with the Lumia 520 and 620 handsets and that these models are hitting the sweet spot with 16 to 24 year-olds and 35 to 49 year-olds, “two key groups that look for a balance of price and functionality in their smartphone,” he said.

In the US, Apple continued to grow strongly year on year and made up 39.3 per cent of sales in the country during the quarter. Apple and Android recorded almost identical shares of sales in Japan – 48.6 per cent and 47.4 per cent respectively. However, the research firm noted that with the iPhone 5s and 5c being available on Japan’s largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo, for the first time, it is likely that Apple will pull ahead of Android in the market.

BlackBerry sales accounted for just 2.4 per cent of sales across the big five European markets in the quarter, and 1.8 per cent in the United States.

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