Android maintains lead in smartphone space

Smartphones now make up 50 per cent or more of all mobile phone sales in the US, UK, Australia and Germany, with Italy, Spain and France expected to follow suit within the next quarter, according to figures released this week by research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

With the smartphone market clearly buoyant, Android is reaping the rewards with an average market share of 50.6 per cent across the seven key markets. Apple’s iOS holds second place with an average 25.1 per cent share, but with the launch of the next generation of Apple iPhone and its associated OS seemingly imminent, Apple’s share is likely to grow in the coming months.

In most cases, RIM’s Blackberry OS is hot on Apple’s heels and Symbian still has a couple of strongholds. Yet the findings also show that while it has been a slow start for Windows Mobile 7, there are signs in Germany that consumers are starting to warm to the OS. The Microsoft OS now holds 7.1 per cent share in Germany, having sold over 300,000 handsets since launch. While it is predominantly HTC, with its Mozart handset, driving these share gains in Germany, it will be comforting news to Nokia which is due to release its own Windows-based handset towards the end of the year.

Global consumer insight director, Dominic Sunnebo, of Kantar, said: “It is easy to assume that because proportionally more smartphones are sold in Great Britain, there is a higher demand than elsewhere. However, it is important to consider the different market dynamics of each country.

“The two countries which sell the most smartphones (GB and Australia) are also the same two where the highest proportion of smartphones are given free to consumers signing up to contract tariffs (61 per cent free in Great Britain, 44 per cent free in Australia). Consumers find it very compelling to be offered a free smartphone with little to no increase in tariff. This is a very different story in countries like Italy, where the vast majority of the market is prepay, meaning that handset subsidies, if they exist at all, are minimal.”

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