The latest global smartphone sales data is out from Kantar Worldpanel Comtech, and things are looking decidedly rosy for market leader Android. Android’s growth is accelerating, with iOS and especially Windows Phone taking the brunt of its punches.
For the first quarter of 2016, Android showed remarkable gains in the EU5 (Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain), where it picked up 7.1 percentage points to hit a 75.6 percent share of the smartphone market. Among the EU5, Android showed the biggest gains in Italy and France, where its share rose 12.1 and 9.7 percentage points respectively year-over-year.
Android’s gains in the United States and China were no less impressive. Android grew by 7.3 percentage points year-over-year to increase its share to 65.5 percent, while it rose 6 percentage points in China to command 77 percent of the market.
But of course, Android’s rapid growth had to come at the expense of other players in the smartphone market. iOS’ share of the EU5 market fell from 20.2 percent to 18.9 percent year-over-year during Q1, while Windows Phone’s share was cut in half (from 9.9 percent to 4.9 percent). In the United States, iOS fell from 36.5 percent of the market to 31.6 percent, and Windows Phone dropped from 4.3 percent to 2.7 percent. In China, iOS dropped from a 26.1 percent share of the market to 21.1 percent, and Windows Phone went from an anemic 1.3 percent share to a defibrillator-ready 0.8 percent.
Those leaving the Windows Phone platform in Europe have flocked to the waiting arms of Android according to Kantar. “For those switching from Windows, Android has offered a better user experience, with a variety of brands and models across a multitude of price points,” said Dominic Sunnebo, business unit director for Kantar Europe. “In Italy and France, the strongest Windows Phone markets for a time, nearly 10% of Windows mobile users moved to Android in the three months ending March 2016.”
In the United States, Kantar suggests that Android’s rise could be partly attributed to strong Samsung Galaxy S7 sales along with sizable discounts on the older Galaxy S6 family of smartphones leading up to its successor’s launch. Even though it launched late in the quarter (March 11th), the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge combined to capture 5.8 percent of the Q1 2016 smartphone market. And the Galaxy S7 was actually the fifth best-selling smartphone in the United States for all of Q1 despite its late start.
With that being said, these global numbers could change in the next quarter thanks to the launch of Apple’s relatively low-cost iPhone SE. “Android share could also be negatively affected by high demand for the Apple iPhone SE,” said Lauren Guenveur, mobile analyst for Kantar. “iPhone SE sales will be particularly important in China, where success in the mid-tier will determine the top player in the region.”