Nearly three-quarters of Android sales in Britain during a twelve-week period ended June 12 came from people upgrading from so-called feature phones to their first smartphone. In addition, only 1.8 percent of new Android sales came from iOS users jumping ship, a Kantar Woldpanel ComTech survey reveals. The research didn’t take into account corporate sales or contracts and was based on extensive interviews with up to one million consumers in Europe alone.
Android has grown its share of total US handset market to 9.2 percent in June of this year, up over just one percent a year ago. The platform had a 45.20 percent share of the entire smartphone market in the country, while iOS fell from 30.6 percent share in June 2010 to 18.3 percent share in June 2011. A big part of this was price: Apple’s is among the priciest consumer smartphones and only 45 percent contracts offer the device for free versus 90 percent for Android phones.
The fall of iOS came as a result of the overall UK market growing at a faster pace than iPhone sales, which have been overshadowed for the past two months as Samsung’s Galaxy S II smartphone emerged as the best-selling smartphone. In the US, Android and iOS had 57 percent and 28.7 percent market share last month, respectively. Android is clearly victorious in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and Japan, where the platform enjoys a whopping 64.7 percent share of the smartphone market versus 27.7 percent for iOS.
Kantar analysts predict that by this time next year smartphones would account for nearly 50 percent of the overall handset market, thanks to more and more feature phone owners dumping their devices for smartphones. This is not unexpected because trends hint that eventually all phones will become smartphones. Other phone vendors are experiencing sharp declines around the world, especially Symbian which has been bleeding share as Nokia fights for survival.
Interesting to note that Samsung’s Bada software for feature phones grabbed 11.2 percent of the smartphone market in France. In Germany, Windows Phone devices actually outsell RIM smartphones by the factor of two, 6.3 percent share for Microsoft versus 3.3 percent share for Research In Motion. Another worrying thing for platform vendors outside the Android-iOS duopoly: People have little incentive to jump ship once they join the Android or iOS ecosystem because native apps are incompatible between platforms, which I touched on briefly two years ago. This means first-time smartphone buyers who are switching from a feature phone represent the largest growth opportunity for both Google and Apple. The search firm is better poised to lure those buyers due to Android’s availability across dozes of carriers, price points and form factors. Apple is rumored to be developing an inexpensive iPhone said to be sold unlocked and without a lengthy contractual obligation in order to address this booming lower end of the smartphone market.