State of Android Changes by Region

Android remained the USA’s most popular smartphone operating system in the three months ending in May, data from Kantar Worldpanel shows. Google managed to increase the share of its OS by 2.8 percentage points, taking Android to 64.9%. However, the story was different in Europe’s ‘big five’ countries (Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain), where share fell 2.9 percentage points YoY.

The launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 meant that the company regained its US smartphone market lead from Apple, and also raised its Android market share. Samsung had a 52% share of the US Android market in the three months to April, and 55% in the three months to May (Kantar refers to this comparison as ‘period-on-period’, or PoP). Samsung also raised its YoY performance, with its share in the USA down only 0.5 percentage points, compared to 1.6 percentage points in the three months ending in April.

The momentum of iOS growth slowed as share declined in the USA, both PoP and YoY. Samsung and LG fuelled Android sales, with LG in particular almost doubling its US smartphone market share compared to the same period in 2014. Other top-tier Android vendors, such as HTC and Motorola, had a more difficult time; shares fell PoP and YoY.

In Europe, iPhone 6 demand remained high. Apple’s newest flagship topped charts in four of the big five (excluding Spain). Britain was an iOS “stronghold”, said Kantar’s Dominic Sunnebo, which forces Android vendors to rely on winning customers from Apple, rather than from each other. In the three months ending in May, only 5% of new Android buyers came from Apple, compared to 11% last year.

Kantar also looked at urban China in its results. Apple, Huawei and Xiaomi lead the smartphone market, all within 0.5 percentage points of one another. Although shares are close, each company has a different target market. Xiaomi and Apple focus on affluent consumers. 39% of Huawei’s sales, though, are to consumers with a monthly income of sub-CNY2,000 ($320). Geographically, 7% of Apple’s sales are to consumers in China’s largest four cities (Beijing, Guagzhou, Shanghai and Shenzen), compared to 2% for Xiaomi.

“China has become the most interesting market for mobile, both in terms of the importance it plays in a vendor’s success, and its role as an incubator of new brands that quickly gain global status”, commented Kantar’s strategic insight director Tamsin Timpson.