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Apple losing market share to Android after all

Despite the endless he said/she said between Apple and Android about who is winning the market share/global profits/units shipped popularity contest, the facts often seem to disagree with one another. While Apple has recently been crowing about stealing Android users, the latest information suggests it is losing ground to Android in the US and Europe.

Market data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech for the three months ending October 2015 show Apple losing a significant percentage of US market share, which almost perfectly mirrors the upswing in Android's share.

The story worsens in Europe, with Apple simultaneously losing traction in what's called the EU5: the big five European countries of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Great Britain.

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Android performed well against iOS in key North American and European markets. / © ANDROIDPIT

Apple's US market share dropped to 33.6 percent, from 41.5 the same time the previous year, a 7.9 percentage point drop. Android, on the other hand, saw its US market share rise from 53.8 percent to 62.8, a 9 percentage point increase. (Kantar's historical data shows Android losing market share to Apple in the latter half of 2014 though.)

The numbers may seem to show a clear overall theme, that Apple is on the decline and Android is on the rise in both the US and Europe – enough for some to consider it a knockout punch – but the data is also perfectly capable of showing opposing facts.

Apple devices typically seem to do better than Android over the Christmas shopping season. / © ANDROIDPIT

For example, the iPhone 6s became the third highest-selling smartphone of the quarter, providing Apple with quarter-over-quarter growth for the period. On the other hand, no individual Android vendor saw a significant rise in market share. Samsung and LG did well in Great Britain, Huawei did well in Italy and Spain, and Samsung performed well in France and the US.

With the holiday buying frenzy upon us and due to heavily impact the numbers for the current quarter, things could change just as rapidly by the time the next report comes out. Kantar reports 14 percent of EU5 smartphone owners are planning to buy a new phone in the current quarter and if Kantar's data is anything to go by, iOS tends to do better at Christmas than Android.  

What do you make of these numbers? Which company will make your next phone? Share your thoughts in the comments. 


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  • Apple is trying to outrun two huge trends in smartphone industry - 1) Saturation of markets and 2) Maturation of smartphone technology. First, Saturation: because iphones are very expensive, it can cater to only certain limited group of people. That group of people has long been aware of iphone in all the mostly first world countries and already is customer of Apple. For example, Apple says they want to aggressively expand market share in India, yet all evidence shows they are not even making a dent. Why? there is no significant customer base for expensive iphone in India. 2) Maturation of smartphone technology. In order for Apple to continue justifying pricing iphone as premium device worth paying much more than a comparable Android phone, Apple must bring added value. Yet aside from the big screen leap, there is nothing left on the table which will allow Apple to leapfrog other smartphone manufacturers. LCD screen is already very high resolution, cpu is amazingly fast, memory is copious even for low end models. Increasingly people will be able to get great smart phone user experience from buying a low end Android phone (like Oneplus X) instead of emptying out their wallet at the temple of Apple. Apple is running out of room to run, yet they still want to preserve their extreme over-pricing for iphone. Will Apple succeeed? Or will they lose increasingly more market share, until finally they are at the same place as they are in PC market with about 7% global market share? Since Apple HQ's guiding rule has always been to maximize price and profit, there is no chance Apple will fight for market share, regardless of consequence, so Iphone looks to be headed for 7% market share globally in next few years

  • The only reason why people believe otherwise is Apple's "record numbers of people switching from Android to iOS" that they release at every earnings statement. It is deceptive because Apple A) doesn't reveal how many of their people switch to Android or B) the fact that an increasing number of people are simply going with multiple phones. Now that Apple is basically giving up on their attempts to create their own reality with advertising, they have now resorted to pressuring their own iPhone 5 customers to upgrade by pushing intrusive advertisements to their app store, like Microsoft has been doing to get people to upgrade to Windows 10. Could you imagine the negative headlines that the tech media would excoriate Google with if they pulled the same nonsense?

  • If Apple is correct that 20% of iphone 6 buyers were Android owners, then these market share figures means there are lots of people leaving ios for Android.

    • Well it's also due to the fact that almost all growth in global smart phone market is coming from new smart phone owners in emerging countries. Here Android rules and Apple iphone has no chance at all. So Android will pickup nearly all the growth in global smart phone market by default in the coming years.

  • To be honest why do people still buy a iphone? Nevermind getting technical and pulling iphones apart internally but who wants a phone that looks the same as most of the people's phones that have iphones? With Android phones there's so many different looking phones to choose from, different UI's, different cameras and hardware to consider when purchasing a android phone. If you have a iphone it's the same as another iphone user's phone having the same model phone iow. What do iphone users talk about? Must be a damn boring conversation imho.

  • android seems to be about easy accessibility to everyone...
    apple makes money....

  • Paolo 10 months ago Link to comment

    That's not what's happening where I live (PHL.) I see SIGNIFICANTLY more iPhone 6's(S'/Plus') than Galaxy S6's(edge/+) 3:1. Then again, where I live people think using a Galaxy S (The VERY FIRST one) is still a bearable experience and overall there are more Androids to iPhones, 3:1. It's all a matter of context.

    • Mark 10 months ago Link to comment

      You may be seeing what you think are I Phones. They are the Chinese knock off running android. If you get close you can tell the cheaper ones easy they are all plastic, the better ones by the dual sim. That's what I see here in Cebu.

      • Paolo 10 months ago Link to comment

        Nope. ACTUAL iPhone 6(S'/Plus'). People in Subic are relatively better off...

      • Oneplus X and similar premium entry level android phones are the new iphone "knock offs". Before you know it, knockoffs will be better than the original!

  • storm 10 months ago Link to comment

    If Asus brings the Padfone S2 to the US, that will be my next phone.

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