iPhone regaining market share, but sales down year on year

iPhone regaining market share, but sales down year on year

Summary: Kantar's smartphone sales market share report for the three months ending November 2013 shows iOS gaining while Windows Phone plateaus.

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Apple's latest pair of iPhones, the 5s and 5c, are starting to gain traction and have reversed Cupertino's fortunes after the company experienced a sales market share nadir during July and August last year, Kanter's latest smartphone market share report shows.

Across the board, Apple's market share has increased over the past three months, but, with the exception of Spain in the list of countries included in the report, the iPhone's total sales market share has decreased since the same three-month window last year.

In the world's major markets, the iPhone presently accounts for 43.1 percent of the market in the United States, which is down from the 53 percent for the three months ending November 2012; in China, iOS claims 17 percent of the market, which represents a drop of 1.5 percent year on year; in Western Europe, the fall in market share over the past 12 months is 6.5 percent, leaving Apple with 24.6 percent; and in Australia, Apple retains 35 percent of the market, which is a fall of only 0.5 percent.

The stand-out country for Apple is Japan, which continues its hunger for iOS, with the company able to claim 69.1 percent of the smartphone market in the country.

"While there's no doubt that sales of the iPhone 5s and 5c have been strong, resurgent performances from LG, Sony, and Nokia have made making year-on-year share gains increasingly challenging for Apple," said Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Sunnebo said that although the iPhone 5s and 5c attract different customers, both groups are happy with the device.

"Some people worried that Apple was risking its historically high consumer satisfaction levels by releasing a lower-cost, plastic iPhone. However, the latest data for the US shows that the iPhone 5c has an average owner recommendation score of 9/10 versus 9.1/10 for the iPhone 5s," he said.

Much of the gains seen for iOS have come at the expense of Android, with the continued decline of BlackBerry also contributing market share.

Despite making remarkable gains over the past year, Windows Phone has found itself in the doldrums over recent months.

While the Microsoft operating system is able to boast about doubling its share of sales across Western Europe in the past 12 months, and can even point to a tripling of its penetration in France, its share of sales for the three months until the end of November has either steadied or fallen. The only reported exceptions to this trend have been in the trio of romantic strongholds for Windows Phone found in France, Spain, and Italy.

In the US, its sales market share has sat between 4.6 and 4.8 percent for the past three months; in the five major Western European economies, it has moved between 9.8 and 10.2 percent over the same period of time; for China, Windows Phone jumped from 2.5 to 3.5 percent last month, but fell back to 2.7 percent for this month.

In Australia over the past three reports, Windows Phone's market share has fallen from an all-time high of 9.3 percent in the three months ending September 2013 to currently sit at 6.9 percent. The news for Windows Phone is even worse in Japan, where after posting only 0.4 percent for last month's report, Kantar says Windows Phone now clocks in at a positively unhealthy 0.0 percent. By contrast, BlackBerry in Japan is drying up as well, but it is still able to clock in at 0.1 percent.

Despite Nokia having a large presence in China and being an easier and more rewarding market for Windows Phone, with Nokia's recent purchase by Microsoft for $7.2 billion, Sunnebo said that he could not see Microsoft changing its focus from the US.

"You don't have to conquer China and the US to win in the smartphone market, but you do need success in one of them," Sunnebo said. "At the moment, there are few signs of progress in either country for Windows Phone, and momentum needs to be made soon before OS loyalty severely limits the available market."

"With Microsoft soon running the show, it's hard to imagine a change in strategic direction away from the US."

Topics: Mobility, Android, iOS, iPhone, Mobile OS, BlackBerry, Smartphones, Windows Phone

About

Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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21 comments
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  • My interpretation

    Apple increases its share accordingly to products release, 2 iPhones seems better than just one.
    Android will handover some share to iOS when no new emblematic devices hit the market.
    BlackBerry devices are dying.
    WP phones seems to be ready to stay with a worldwide share below 5%. Without strong US and China presence, Europe is all it's left for the platform, but it seems that with current strategy 10% share is the spot for them.
    I've been saying this for a couple of years - MS needs to make a revision on windows 8 family, and attract a few important manufacturers to the platform - Nokia alone is not enough.
    AleMartin
  • My interpretation

    Apple increases its share accordingly to products release, 2 iPhones seems better than just one.
    Android will handover some share to iOS when no new emblematic devices hit the market.
    BlackBerry devices are dying.
    WP phones seems to be ready to stay with a worldwide share below 5%. Without strong US and China presence, Europe is all it's left for the platform, but it seems that with current strategy 10% share is the spot for them.
    I've been saying this for a couple of years - MS needs to make a revision on windows 8 family, and attract a few important manufacturers to the platform - Nokia alone is not enough.
    AleMartin
    • Agreed to some of this.

      Apple's biggest obstacle is its lack of a larger screen size. I know several people who told me if Apple just offered a larger screen. Once the Iphone 6 arrives this will open a whole new market segment and remove an obstacle to adoption. The second item they need to address is their slow down in innovation, while they still bring out innovations which the others will copy there have been no real game changes in a while. Google seems to me moving forward here. Apple needs to get back on track an offer more with each release.

      Android is strong and will continue to lead from a simple price perspective. There is no doubt they have their own problems but they are the younger generations phone and sell well in devolving nations where Apple's price point is a barrier. They also are ahead of Apple at this time with features the younger crowd wants. They are a hungry company.

      WP is dead in the water, the MS fanboys have bought in and a few regular users who bought units on a fire sales but MS offers nothing that Android and Apple can't do better with more software. MS has the money to keep it in the game but consumers view it as that phone who no one else uses. MS needs to clean house before they will have a chances to join the big boys in mobile.
      KBabcock75
  • Re: iPhone regaining market share, but sales down year on year....

    Basing articles around statistics is all very well but the numbers they produce are not written in stone. I base my assessment on popularity of products seen out on the street and the iPhone would seem to be strong. Even more so now since the release of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.
    5735guy
    • I base my assessment on verifiable stats...

      ... not on "there are no folks holding armadillos up to their ears so the armadillo-phone is losing market share" street observation analogy.

      The figures in the US are staggering, 10% market share loss in 12 months, if that was an operating system heads would be rolling and the design team working for Wallmart...
      btone-c5d11
      • Re: I base my assessment on verifiable stats....

        I always base my findings on observations and they tell me the iPhone is more popular than it has ever been (here in the UK at least).

        Most statistics can be biased and inaccurate a prime example being Amazon and the Chrome Book. I am still yet to see one in the wild.
        5735guy
  • Wait a second...

    Where in this paragraph do you get the idea that Apple is regaining its marketshare:

    "In the world's major markets, the iPhone presently accounts for 43.1 percent of the market in the United States, which is down from the 53 percent for the three months ending November 2012; in China, iOS claims 17 percent of the market, which represents a drop of 1.5 percent year on year; in Western Europe, the fall in market share over the past 12 months is 6.5 percent, leaving Apple with 24.6 percent; and in Australia, Apple retains 35 percent of the market, which is a fall of only 0.5 percent."

    All I can se is negaitve numbers across the board! Is losing marketshare now called "regaining marketshare"???

    Also didn't anybody notice how iPhone lost 10%(!) marketshare during the thre months following the iPhone 5S/5C launch? Apple has been losing marketshare the rest of the year and the months following a release of the new generation Always makes up for that... Not so this year. Apple lost a record 10% markethshare in USA after releasing the new phones. Thats unheard of and should make me worry if I had Apple shares!

    Read the report here:
    http://uk.kantar.com/media/615033/kantar_worldpanel_comtech_smartphone_os_barometer_06_01_14.pdf
    brhorv
    • mmmm

      Where I a shareholder the fact that Apple has 3 best selling phones in the market, all at industry best profit margins would make me very happy indeed. I find it astonishing that, in the USA, Apple can retain 43% of the market with only 3 products offset against a multitude of different competitors with Android, each with different pricing strategies, marketing plans and incentives. Also, according to Counterpoint’s Monthly Market Pulse report Apple had 3 of the 4 best-selling phones in the world in Oct (the last time for them to report). Hard to know what they could do better, expect to buy market share by reducing margins. But why would they possibly want to do that???
      paddle.
      • Normal people only need one phone

        No matter how many Android phones are available in the market, we only buy one. So the comparison should be between iOS device and Android device.

        Even there are 1000 Android phones in the market, each customer usually only buy 1 Android phones. Therefore, the number of choices doesn't mean anything to the actual sales.
        Rockchan
      • 75%-> 53% -> 43%

        From a stock holders perspective this should be alarming. The trend is heading down and so is Apples profit margins and almost all of their sales figures.

        Next year if Apple adds a forth phone to their offerings (likely a 5+ inch phone) and the trend continues to slide to 33% of the market, will that still be ok?


        There is less and less incentive every year to upgrade to huge price tag phones on 2 year subsidized contracts. That is Apples bread and butter.
        Emacho
        • are Apple selling more or less phones than they did

          last year? Hint: the answer begins with a "M"
          paddle.
    • likely

      An interpretation of the position from a low point in the summer prior to the release of the new model. Agreed the year over year metric is more significant vs short term spikes and drops which are quite predictable given known product timing.

      In short, across the board year over year market share declines is nothing to cheer about for Apple.

      For an analyst to be so easily deceived by short term swings speaks volumes.
      greywolf7
  • Apple needs new ads

    The new TV ads for the iPhone 5S looks like it's an advertisement for chocolates.
    $millions wasted right there.
    warboat
  • What a load of crap!

    "reversed Cupertino's fortunes", "market share nadir", "resurgent performances from LG, Sony, and Nokia" what planet are you on? Of course the fact that this article is about "market share" should be the first indication it's basically rubbish, but when you compare sales in two months that are the 10th and 11th since a product release to another month that's the second AFTER a new release, you're going to get skewed numbers. Of course the author doesn't mention, or even seem to notice, that. As for LG, Sony, and Nokia. Well, LG still has a negative profit margin on smartphones, Sony's most profitable division is a small financial services group, and Nokia–well, nah…I can't even keep a straight face for that one.

    Let's see what kind of numbers Apple reports on the 27th, and then we can come back to this little steaming pile.
    matthew_maurice
    • Poor analysis all round

      I agree with your comments. I'm not an Apple user, but even I can see no evidence for the title. From the figures given Apple is losing market share as a fraction of the market. The body of the article has no figures to support the conjecture "sales down year on year". Even in Apple's share of the market has gone down, it's likely they're selling more devices. To give the author a clue, 10% of 1000000 is bigger than 20% of 100000.
      DJL64
      • Well...

        "From the figures given Apple is losing market share as a fraction of the market."

        That is, in fact, the definition of "market share."
        JamesInCA
  • Sad article

    It's sad how far ZDNet has fallen. There are no facts to support either the headline or the lede of this article. There is no evidence that Apple's actual iPhone sales are down year over year. In fact, the opposite has been true each quarter. Nor is there any indication that the iPhone is regaining market share. Just the opposite. Given that average selling price for both Android and Windows phones are in the $200+ range and that the ASP for iPhones is in the $600+ range, it's clear that these devices are competing in different market segments for different types of customers. The low end devices will always sell more by quantity.
    techconc
  • Apple's profits are too high, and therefore doomed to low market share

    Mostly these articles are meant to reinforce that iOS is a dying platform and Apple is a dying company due to trying to sell overpriced iPhones that supposedly aren't any better than the common Android smartphone. It's called cosmic comeuppance for Apple. Apple is unable to sell a high number of smartphones in countries like Greece, Spain, India or Russia because Apple doesn't want to cater to the poorest of nations so therefore Apple is doomed to fail. In other words, Apple's profits are just too high to be tolerated by the heavens and the company will be destroyed by the powers that be.

    High market share means everything because everyone can afford Android and Windows Phones and all consumers are seen as equals. Apple only wanting to sell to the consumers with the most money is seen as capitalism at its worst. Apple must be punished for doing such a dastardly deed. So, when is Apple going to sell a brand new $200 iPhone to the starving masses to keep Apple from being destroyed by greed?
    Steffen Jobbs
    • BMW seems to do pretty good with this model

      You're dead wrong, smart people sell where the money is. When the less well to do have money they gravitate towards these same brands as a show of there success. Apple knows this and has kept to this strategy, phone makers like Samsung have watched each successive smart phone they make earn less then the one it replaced. This is a recipe for doom and is why Samsung is trying to create their own flavor of Android or other OS.

      High market share is nice but profits are what really maters and Apple has the highest. Business are exist to make money others wise they are call non-profit and Apple plain and simply does this best. They make a very desirable product and allows them to sell it at the higher end.

      Apple does not have to sell a $200 phone to the staving masses because there are lower end players that will, similar to BMW or the high end brands of any consumer product. This is simple business 101.
      KBabcock75
      • The BMW and iPhone analogy doesn't work...

        The only time it works, is via price, where BMWs and iPhones are both, high priced. That's where the analogy ends.

        A BMW is a well made, high quality auto, and it's worth the price to those that want what BMW offers. iPhone, on the other hand, are good quality, but their high-prices aren't justified. Most of what people get with iPHones, is also available in a lot of other brands, and of the same quality. BEsides, most smartphones are kept for a year, perhaps 2 or 3. No one can say with a straight face that, the price people are paying for to own an iPhone for 1 or 2 years, is worth it.

        Where the analogy fails worst, is in the market-share numbers.

        A BMW is never going to compete for the highest market-share in the auto industry. Perhaps it can compete in the luxury or performance segment of autos, but not in the total number of units sold for the industry. So, market share to BMW is irrelevant.

        With iPhones, Apple does need market share, not only for the "luxury" brand, and for the high-priced segment, but for the total number of units sold. When people start noticing that the brand is no longer selling well, then it could start a downhill slide, when people start moving to other more popular brands, or more capable brands, or better priced brands, or a combination of all of the above. Apple's iPhone could be in the beginning stages of becoming the next Palm or Blackberry or Nokia, even as the iPhone is still raking in the dough.

        The other major part that invalidates the BMW and iPhone analogy, is that, the iPhone needs to remain a big seller for Apple in order for Apple to keep and or gain consumers in its online properties, namely iCloud and iTunes, and others. A loss of sales also means a loss of online consumers. BMW doesn't have that worry, and Apple needs to gain sales, and keep the other platforms at bay.

        So, nope!, sorry, your analogy stinks!
        adornoe