US is home to biggest chunk of Windows Phone users in the world

US is home to biggest chunk of Windows Phone users in the world

Summary: Windows Phone share remains low in the US but there are enough of them to make it Microsoft's biggest single market.


Windows Phone might make up only a tiny sliver of all smartphones sold in the US, but the country is the biggest market for Microsoft's mobile OS.

US smartphone owners account for 11 percent of all Windows Phone users, making it the largest individual market for the OS globally, according to new figures from ad network AdDuplex.

The figure was based on ads served by AdDuplex through 11 global apps to around 200,000 devices over the course of one day in July.

Windows Phone breakdown by country. Credit: AdDuplex

A country by country breakdown of Windows Phone users across the world casts a different light on the importance of the US to Microsoft's mobile ambitions, and comes against a background of other reports showing Windows Phone's stubbornly low share of the US smartphone market compared to rivals Android and iOS. According to market researchers Kantar Worldpanel, Windows Phone has around four percent of the smartphone market in the country.

Behind the US, India has the next largest Windows Phone population, accounting for 7.5 percent of Microsoft's Windows Phone users, followed by Brazil with 6.9 percent.

Russia and Italy account for 4.3 percent each, while China, Mexico, and the UK stand for 3.7 percent each. Meanwhile, Germany, Argentina, Thailand and Finland represent between 3.5 and three percent of Microsoft's Windows Phone user base.

According to recent figures from Gartner, Windows Phone's share of global smartphone shipments so far this year is around four percent. However, the analyst firm expects the OS to rise to 10 percent by 2018. It doesn't say what factors it expects to drive the change, but Gartner's predictions are notably lower than the 15 percent share Microsoft said it was targeting for 2018 when it announced its acquisition of Nokia's devices and services business last year.

Smartphone OS sales figures last month from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech showed mixed results for Microsoft's mobile fortunes across the world.

Windows Phone's share of OS sales in the US fell to 3.8 percent in the three months to May 2014 — down from 4.7 percent in the same period last year, and from its historical peak of 5.6 percent earlier in 2013.

On the other hand, Windows Phone has climbed to between nine and 10 percent of sales in Great Britain, France, and Italy, bumping up its share of sales across Europe's biggest five economies to 8.1 percent from 7.1 percent a year ago.

Perhaps most concerning for Microsoft's OS and devices is, while China accounts for three percent of Microsoft's Windows Phone users, its sales in the country have slipped from three percent last year to 0.6 percent this year with the country dominated by Android at 82.7 percent, followed by iOS at 14.7 percent.

Read more on Windows Phone

Topics: Mobility, Android, iOS, Windows, Windows Phone

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Let Windows Phone chase value, and Android chase market share

    MS should focus on dominating the enterprise, and radiating outwards into the consumer market. Call it a reverse BYOD. Call it BYWD (Bring Your Work Device home). This is how MS originally dominated the consumer market with the PC. MS may not be able to dominate the consumer market like it did with the PC in the 90s, but it should be able to have a sizeable impact, from a profitable position. Also, so what if Android dominates the market? As long as MS and its partners are making good money; they are able to influence the market; and
    Windows Phone has decent market share, things should be fine. Let the players in the Android ecosystem fight like sharks over the dwindling value of the Android ecosystem. It is only a matter of time before the ecosystem fades away, given there is no solid economic foundation supporting it.
    P. Douglas
    • "no solid economic foundation supporting it"

      Did you realise this is the most clueless comment in the last ten days?

      ... or have I started you on an ultimately rewarding path towards self education, economic understanding, and freedom from fanboi religiosity?

      Well, can't say I didn't try, eh?
      • The Android bubble

        If there is little to no value in an ecosystem, that system cannot be sustained over time, and will give way to other systems having value. You can only make money around value. E.g. trying to sell tap water from a stand along the street, will net you little to no money. Trying to sell soda and other drinks, which are substantially richer and more scarce, will significantly increase your chances of making money. Android is a sea of more or less the same cheap devices, supported by a sea of similarly cheap, simple apps. Android does not afford players opportunities to create differentiating value that lasts. Android is therefore for all intents and purposes, a bubble.
        P. Douglas
        • we're consumers

          what do we care about any of that? I don't own stock in any of these companies.

          This happened to the PC industry - everyone fighting tooth and nail to make the cheapest PCs. And as much as it isn't fun for them, personally? I'm totally cool with that.

          Let it be so with phones.
        • You are wrong

          Windows Phone devices are cheaper than android devices. If you compare the ASP for both it's similar but android I think is still ahead.

          Comparing share of expensive devices will look even less rosy for windows - the share must be very very small. While average price for android is low, the big amount of very cheap devices pulls it down even if there is an important share of flagship devices.

          If you look at data for the top android brands, you will notice that flagships are very important in android land (Samsung S4, HTC M8, LG g line, ...), while Nokia sells 5xx mostly.

          And it seems MS is more interested in delivering their services to iOS and android first and only after to WP platform.

          Windows Phone as it is now, it's a "dead horse", Nokia sales for the last quarter will for sure be poor.... or even very poor..... I can be wrong though.
          • As long as WP is being distributed around value, it should succeed

            My prediction about Windows Phone, is contingent on the company consciously taking steps, to have the operating system centered around creating value. This means creating an environment in which developers can sell their apps at good prices, via possibly third party app stores, many of which are devoid of cheap apps - in favor of reasonable valued business and other apps. Also I really believe MS should reestablish the value of the WP license. If manufacturers bail on MS, then it will have the business market all to itself, and it should be easier to make money from handset sales - many of which should be higher valued. If MS gets hardware manufacturer partners, then it should be able make money from operating system license sales. Reestablishing the value of the WP, is very important to signal to the market, that in the WP ecosystem, software has value.
            P. Douglas
          • If you are right there, it's terrible news for MS

            If android consumers don't like to spend money on apps/services as it's well known, just imagine consumers of WP devices... it will be a lot worse. Many reports say that WP buyers are in great extent getting a replacement for a feature phones - not very interested in pending money with the platform for sure.
            Now add to the probable lack of interest in spending money the fact that WP share is around 4% and probably getting smaller in the last couple of quarters.

            Why MS is having these not so good issues - for me the reason is windows 8 (phone, tablets or desktops). They need to make an "extreme makeover" out of it.
          • your all making up bad comparisons to fit some of world view

            The platform only sank the last quarter due to the release of WP 8.1 everyone knows new device's are coming out and there are two large groups that don't buy at these times. Group 1 poor, they don't have much money and wait for the new phones to release so they can grab a old phone at a lower cost. Group 2 techies, they want the latest flagships so they hold out a extra month or two ago there device is at the top of the mountain longer.

            Android won't fall in the near future, Apple is the one devaluing it's brand by releasing outdated crap at a premium price. Windows will gain substantial share. And once they are over 10% the floors are open and from a consumer stand point they are viable. Many reviewers have already turned positive results the platform with wp8.1.
          • autocorrect is a beach ;)

          • You wanna bet q2 is going to be worse?

            Even absolute sales of windows phone will be smaller, in a still growing market, numbers for share will be even darker.
            With current way windows phone is make WP is not going to make it to 10% in a million years.
        • Yep...

's only a matter of time before Android and Linux users are forced to embrace MS products because their preferred systems will have ceased to exist.

          It's been a good 15 years now and I'm still waiting.
          John L. Ries
    • MS was selling into a vacuum when it took over home PCs

      Big difference, that at least partially invalidates the strategy you're suggesting. MS has no record of _displacing_ an OS incumbent.
      • MS should still be able to do well

        Windows displaced UNIX. Windows also displaced Linux in Netbooks. Windows Phone and Windows 8 and up, will probably not displace iOS and Android in the near to mid term, but they should be able make serious inroads, with a rich ecosystem of apps and peripherals - if MS can get these things going.
        P. Douglas
        • P. Douglas: "Windows displaced UNIX"

          Windows *and Linux* displaced UNIX, although UNIX is still kicking.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
        • Linux displaced UNIX

          Notice how many Linux users that post here are UNIX veterans; and how few MS/Windows devotees are.
          John L. Ries
  • Microsoft subsidizes its home market more ...

    ... to impress the shareholders.

    Gartner's report - almost certainly sponsored by Microsoft - is their usual partially informed guesswork, and, please note, is based on shipmemnts, not sales.

    Gartner's record on accurate trend predictions stands close to 0%, and frankly, you'd do just as well interviewing 100 random people at a random shopping mall.

    All tis REALLY tells us is that Microsoft are serious about keeping shareholding institutions onside.

    Quelle surprise, n'est ce pas?
    • Source please?

      So when numbers pop up that you disagree with, we should ignore them?

      Wow, just wow...
      • Numbers should be scrutinized

        Self-serving ones more than those tabulated by disinterested third parties. It's not that they're necessarily wrong, but it's the job of marketers to make the case for, not against what they're trying to sell (so they're almost certainly not going to give you the bad news; you'll need to seek that out for yourself).

        The principle applies in politics and just about every other imaginable human effort as well (don't expect partisan talk show hosts to make the case for the opposition, or to encourage those calling into their programs to do so).
        John L. Ries
    • shipments =~ unit sales

      Shipments and sales in this industry are virtually the same. If Best Buy or a Mom & Pop shop orders too many computers or phones, unless there is a manufacturing defect, they cannot call up HP, Apple, or Samsung and ask to return them and get their money back.

      If a reseller overstocks a product, they must either discount it to move it or resell it to a discounter who will find a way to move it into customers' hands. A very low percentage of consumer electronics products end up in a landfill because they could not be sold, and businesses that do this generally don't stay in business very long. I know this because I have worked for two large computer manufacturers and the largest computer market research/consulting firm.
      • More true of hardware than software

        Unsold hardware takes up space in warehouses; unsold software licenses don't; making it easier to encourage bulk purchases of the latter at heavy discounts (an easy way to make one's software product look more popular than it actually is).
        John L. Ries