Android has eaten up market share abroad over the past year. According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Google’s mobile operating system collectively picked up 20 percentage points in the five largest European markets—Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain. The only other platform to gain market share in those markets, Windows Phone, notched a 1 per cent increase. Windows now has a double digit market share in Italy and Brazil, but is still tiny globally.
The findings also reinforce the importance of local market conditions in the mobile platform wars. Spain, for example, no longer has carrier subsidies. According to the Wall Street Journal, a new iPhone in Spain now costs three times as much as its subsidized forerunner. As a result, Android now accounts for a whopping 84 per cent of the market, up from 55 per cent a year prior. (It is also worth mentioning that Spain is in the middle of a bruising economic crisis right now, further amplifying the appeal of cheaper devices.)
Brazil, which is a potentially enormous market with limited penetration, also lacks carriers subsidies. While relatively wealthy, it still has enormous pockets of poverty and is not as well off as the other countries analysed. iOS accounts for a scant 6 per cent of the market while Android surged almost 30 percentage points to a 47 per cent share. Nokia’s antiquated Symbian platform still accounts for 27 per cent of the market, down from 65 per cent a year prior, but still significant.
China, which accounted for almost a quarter of smartphone shipments in the second quarter, is also reportedly dominated by Android.
Apple’s iOS platform is strongest in countries with carrier subsidies, like the U.S., Great Britain, and Australia, Nonetheless, there are always local peculiarities, like RIM’s almost 30 per cent share in Mexico.
Long-term, however, we believe the key to the mobile platform wars is developer market share because they create the apps and games that draw consumers to their phones. In the U.S., iOS has blown open a huge lead with developers because it pays much better than Android. At a certain level though, Android’s massive user base will be too much to resist for developers eager to find an audience.
Below are the charts for the eight countries analysed by Kantar, with their smartphone market share by platform for September 2011 and September 2012:
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