Almost half of all smartphones sold in major European markets in recent months have been made by Samsung, underpinning the growing dominance of Google’s Android operating system across the region.
Android-based smartphones accounted for more than 70 per cent of sales in the top five European markets in the three months to the end of May, compared with 61 per cent in the same period the year before.
Comparatively, Apple’s iPhone sales have a share of less than a fifth and Windows phones comprise about 7 per cent.
However, this rapid pace of growth was not replicated elsewhere in the world, with Google’s platform holding steady with a share of about half the US market over the past year. Instead, Apple’s iPhone was the clear winner when it came to growing market share in the US, which was up 3.5 per cent to 42 per cent.
Paul Moore, global director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said: “Across Europe, Android growth remains strong. However, in the US Apple’s expanded distribution agreement with T-Mobile is helping the iPhone keep Android growth at bay.
“T-Mobile is the smallest of the big four US carriers but it does have the capacity to give iOS a boost, particularly as 28 per cent of its customers plan to buy an iPhone when they next upgrade.”
Windows phones are starting to build sales, with heavy support both from Microsoft, which develops the software, and device makers such as Nokia. In the top five European countries, Windows phones comprised almost 7 per cent of sales in the three months to the end of May, up from 4.3 per cent in the year before. There was only a modest growth of 0.9 per cent in the US, however, while sales dropped in Australia.
BlackBerry was the worst performer, adding to the woes of the Canadian handset maker that last week disappointed investors with poor initial sales of its relaunched smartphone range. Sales in the European markets tracked by Kantar dropped to just 2.5 per cent, from 7 per cent last year, with a market share in the US now of less than 1 per cent.
Sony’s relaunched smartphone range has met with more immediate success, according to Kantar, in particular in the UK where it is the country’s fourth-largest handset manufacturer. Sony’s Xperia range also uses the Android operating system.
Moore said: “The flagship Xperia Z has driven Sony’s growth in Britain by successfully appealing to Samsung customers. Some 38 per cent of Xperia’s users are ex-Samsung owners, the majority of whom have upgraded from the Galaxy S2.”
Moore said Samsung needed to focus on retaining its existing base of customers “after two years of relentless growth” given improved products from competitors such as Sony, HTC and Huawei, pointing out that brand loyalty for Samsung is still lower than for Apple.