Consumer insights and research firm Kantar Worldpanel has released its smartphone sales data for the second quarter of 2015, which runs from April through June, and it’s a bit of a mixed bag for Android. Growth in the United States and China, but declines in Europe. Android also saw market consolidation stateside during the three month period.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way. In the second quarter, Kantar says Android posted its “strongest year-on-year share drop in Germany” since the beginning of 2015. 81% of all smartphones sold in Germany during the same period last year were powered by Android, compared to 75% this year — other smartphone operating systems have seen gains in the country during the same period.
Kantar attributes the drop in Germany to consumer appetite for large displays, saying that the “size of the screen was the main purchase driver for Android buyers across all of Europe’s big five countries.” Once other companies, namely Apple, came in to satisfy that hunger, Kantar says Android manufacturers didn’t prove to have much else to help them stand out.
More interesting is what’s happening to Android in the United States and China. The story stateside is consolidation, with “Samsung and LG now accounting for 78% of all Android sales” in the United States. According to Kantar’s data, LG not only doubled its share of the US smartphone market over the last year, but it also acquired more first-time smartphone buyers than Samsung. LG released its flagship LG G4 back in June touting its high-resolution camera with F 1.8 aperture lens for snapping photos tremendously fast.
LG’s success as of late may be partly attributable to all the special promotions its been offering to new G4 owners, with Kantar saying that during its research, it found that 43% of Android buyers surveyed “mentioned a ‘good deal on the price of the phone’ as the main purchase driver for their new device.”
Finally, China, where players are shifting rapidly and upstarts are jumping into the Android fold practically by the day. Android accounted for 79% of all smartphones sold during the period in urban China, and Kantar says that newer companies like Meizu are seeing growth in the double-digit hundreds. Both Huawei and Xiaomi, though, have been able to grow by expanding upon their early customer demographics, namely the budget conscious consumers Huawei has sold to, and the tech-savvy early adopters with Xiaomi. With over 1.3 billion people living in China, it seems that the smartphone market is still anyone’s game to win or lose over there.
Looking back at the aforementioned recent performance in Germany, Kantar warns that Android’s accessibility to new smartphone brands makes for an even harder time turning a profit.
“Entering the smartphone market is relatively easy, but being profitable is not,” said Kantar Chief of Research Carolina Milanesi. “Some brands may successfully capture a niche if they are able to deliver enough differentiation. However, brand strength in other technology areas, such as cameras for Kodak, or PCs for Commodore, does not guarantee success in the smartphone business.”
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