Kantar's latest smartphone sales data for the three months up to the end of October has shown that iPhone sales have jumped, but that the size of the increase has seen Apple gain a smaller percentage of smartphone sales than its iPhone 5 launch did.
In Japan and the US, Apple has captured a larger share when compared to last year. Due to the iPhone's availability on NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest telco, Apple's share surged to 76.1 percent of smartphone sales, while in the United States, Apple returned to a majority share with 52.8 percent, up from 48.1 percent at the same time last year.
"Apple's share of the market still remains lower than when the iPhone 5 was released, although this is not wholly unexpected, as shoppers tend to react more positively to 'full' releases than incremental improvements such as the 5s and 5c," said Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
Across the five leading Western European economies, Apple earned only 15.8 percent of sales, with Android responsible for 70.9 percent, and Windows Phone continuing its run of increasing sales just edging over the 10 percent mark to 10.2 percent from 9.8 percent last month. Focusing on the United Kingdom, the Kantar report says that it has seen the iPhone 5s outsell the 5c model by a factor of three to one — Apple had 28.7 percent of sales in the UK over the past three months.
Sunnebo said that demand for the iPhone 5c is coming from lower-income owners, who have an average age of 38 years — Kantar says the average age of an iPhone 5s owner is 34 years.
"Almost half of iPhone 5c owners switched from competitor brands, particularly Samsung and LG, compared with 80 percent of 5s owners who upgraded from a previous iPhone model," Sunnebo said.
Similarly, the gains made by Windows Phone in Europe have been made in the lower end of the market.
"In Britain, almost three quarters of Nokia Lumia sales in the latest period were low-end devices such as the Lumia 520 and 620 — a pattern that is similar across other EU markets," said Sunnebo.
Australian iOS sales fall
The latest release of Kantar's numbers provides an update of the existing install base in the Australian mobile phone market. As it stands at the end of October, feature phones held 31.4 percent of the market, Android had 33 percent, iOS came in at 26.8 percent, Windows Phone had a mere 2.8 percent, and BlackBerry and "other" accounted for 1 percent each.
Compared with the same time last year, Android had gained 8.9 percent, Windows Phone was up 0.9 percent, and other was steady at 1 percent, while iOS had shrunk by 3.9 percent, BlackBerry lost 0.6 percent share, and the percentage of feature phones decreased by 8.5 percent.
Despite the launch of a new pair of iPhones, iOS sales in Australia dropped by 2.1 percent when compared to smartphone sales figures from September. Android sales grew by 4.1 percent in October, while Windows Phone sales fell off its recent high of 9.3 percent by 2 points to 7.3 percent.
In the three months until the end of October 2013, 27.7 percent of all mobile phone sales were feature phones.