Windows Phone down in Europe as iOS continues reign in Japan

Windows Phone down in Europe as iOS continues reign in Japan

Summary: The latest release of Kanter Worldpanel data for the three months to March 2014 shows low-cost Android handsets are improving the fortunes of Google's mobile operating system at the cost of Windows Phone sales.


After edging over 10 percent during the latter part of last year, Windows Phone is in decline, according to the latest numbers released by Kantar from its smartphone sales report for the three months until the end of March.

Coming off a peak of 10.3 percent across the European economies of Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Spain, Windows Phone now finds itself down by 20 percent to 8.1 percent.

In surveyed countries where it had the largest appeal, Windows Phone is down by 2.2 percentage points over the first quarter of the year in the UK to 9.1 percent; from a peak of 12.9 percent in November 2013, Windows Phone has steadied to 8.3 percent of smartphone sales in France; and in Italy, the leader in Windows Phone uptake, the 17.1 percent seen at the end of 2013 has been reduced to 13.9 percent by the end of March.

However, in good news for Microsoft's mobile ecosystem globally, Windows Phone has increased sales across Australia, Japan, and the United States for the first quarter of the year.

Japan and the US saw a rise of around one percentage point since the start of the year, while Australia lead the world in improved Windows Phone sales by recording a lift of 1.7 percentage points since the end of December.

"Windows had a tough start to the year as a result of its entry-level Nokia models facing fierce competition from low-end Motorola, LG, and Samsung Android smartphones," said Dominic Sunnebo, Kantar strategic insight director.

Apple is continuing to enjoy a honeymoon in Japan following the availability of iPhones on the nation's largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo, in September last year. Kantar's data until the end of March points to iOS making up 57.6 percent of sales, Android claiming 41.5 percent, and Windows Phone at 0.9 percent.

"Even though the iPhone has now been available on Japan's largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo, for a number of months Apple still accounts for more than 40 percent of sales on the network," Sunnebo said. "The success of the iPhone is also filtering through to the iPad, with almost a quarter of Japanese iPhone owners also owning an iPad.

"With smartphone penetration in Japan lagging well behind Europe and the US, Japan will remain a key growth market for Apple."

The current stigma against phablets is making no impact in China, where Kantar reports that large screen devices made up 40 percent of smartphone sales in March, despite a general lack of 4G coverage across the country.

"As 4G infrastructure expands in China, the demand for data is going to be unprecedented, paving the way for carriers to boost revenues significantly through larger data packages," Sunnebo said.

For the first three months of the year in the US, Android gained 7 percentage points to sit at 57.6 percent, iOS dropped eight points to 35.9 percent, with Blackberry up 0.3 points to 0.7 percent, and Windows Phone sat at 5.3 percent, an increase of 1 percentage point since the end of 2013.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Apple, Google, iOS, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Windows Phone


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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  • Well

    In the USA, I just sold an iPhone 5s when I picked up a Lumia 928 for $100 off contract.

    The Lumia is great, the iPhone meh, not so much.
    • No new flagship didn't help...

      I think it really hurt Windows Phone's momentum that there wasn't a new flagship for the holidays or the first (or most of the 2nd) quarter. The 1020 & 1520 are great phones, but they are niche products. I kept waiting and waiting for a new flagship in the US... expecting something big at BUILD... but, nope... nothing for the US (well, not for AT&T anyway). It's just disappointing. With all of the competition and options out there, Microsoft/Nokia CANNOT afford to miss the holiday season.

      Maybe the carriers would give more love to Windows Phone if Microsoft acted like it actually wanted to sell them. As a Windows Phone fan, the whole debacle is frustrating. Microsoft is running out of time.
  • Sounds about right

    I am a "since the beginning" Windows phone user -- on my second -- and I have to say every new major release is two steps forward, one step back. The fact that MS can't just add features, but must take others away *every time* all the while not addressing the core problems in the OS is really baffling. Until MS opens up WP for real development, it is doomed to languish.

    Right now, like iOS, it is a featurephone OS. The world is moving toward Android because it is (the last remaining) smartphone OS. MS knows how to make smartphones, they used to be one of the leading OS providers for them (Windows Mobile), so they just need to go back to what works.

    (I should say, however that the notification center *does* address a "core problem" and has helped my satisfaction tremendously. Now if only I could have the ability to edit the contents of emails before forwarding and sending, I'd be a much happier camper.)
    x I'm tc
    • I can't believe

      I have to agree with you on every point. Though I myself use a WP, still I am quite disappointed with it. The main reason is that it behave just like iOS & now, I'm simply trying to save money & will buy an Android as soon as possible. I try to find ways by which I can learn to love the OS but haven't got even an impressive one. I can't imagine how people use iOS & then say that it's the best smartphone OS just because it has good apps.
    • What was the steps back?

      The only thing I can think that they removed was the hub and frankly it was a strategic decision since trying to maintain the correct hooks into all of those various 3rd party systems was a nightmare for them. Plus the hub was a stopgap measure to work around not having apps from the vendors to support their own systems. With 250K of apps, WP8 has finally started to attract those vendors to support their own systems so MS does not have to.
      Rann Xeroxx
  • MS must deliver flagship wp 8.1 phone fast

    Before bigger Iphone (ip6) out in the market, which relegates 5s to become middle tier phone (Imo it will crush other middle tier phones easily because build quality, one of the fastest phone, excellent apps selection, fingerprint scanner, etc.)

    right now, all high end phones from Lumia lines up barely visible on ad duplex chart. my prediction MS will be left behind for a year if no wp 8.1 flagship in the market in the absence of ip6.

    although I have negative bias toward ms, I hope they will bring enough competition in duopoly (android and ios) market. competitipn is good for customers.

    disclosure: I use entry level android and very happy.
  • No flagship WP?

    I'm not sure where that's coming from. By my count there are three WP flagships: Nokia 1020, 1520, and the new Icon. What features are missing that would qualify these as flagships?
    Sir Name
    • re: no flagship wp

      here is the chart:

      the most popular flagship is a 2 yo 920. all phones you mentions are not in chart ( maybe in others category due to small percentage).
      • re:

        I had a 920 for over a year and loved it. Unfortunately, I left it in fast food restaurant and someone else is enjoying it now. I replaced it with a 1520 and love it even more. The only thing about the 1520 I don't like is neither Nokia's nor Microsoft's fault, it's AT&T's. AT&T had Nokia remove the Qi wireless charging circuit the 1520 has elsewhere in the world on the units they sell because they are promoting a different wireless chargin standard. Which means U.S. 1520 users get no wireless charging.

        As for the size, please. It took about a wek to get used to it and now other smartphones seem miniscule. The size is also a plus for those of us over 40 who now wear bifocals.
        Sir Name
    • Those aren't real flagship devices

      Both 1020 and 1520 are too large for many people (each in its own way).

      While 930 (the non-US version of Icon) does look like a flagship device, it wasn't even announced at the time covered by this chart and still isn't available.
      Matjaž Miler
  • Probably waiting for 8.1

    The old "wait a few more months, devices and software will improve significantly" that kept people from buying WP7 still hasn't completely gone away.
    Matjaž Miler
    • The right trend

      MS seems to be moving in a more rapid release cycle. Hopefully with the 8.1 release we will see more releases sooner. Also note that Nokia (now owned by MS) applies their own updates that add features as well. And with universal apps, hopefully that will spur more WP8 app development and better cross platform functionality.

      MS is moving in the right direction. I might buy my first WP this year after 8.1 is officially out.
      Rann Xeroxx
  • Two Questions about Japan

    Is this data for only smartphones, or mobile OS devices in general, and how were the data collected?

    My questions is because of two peculiarities for Japan market.

    1. How can Microsoft increase its market share when they don't sell Windows Phone at all in the Japanese market (at least since 2011). Are the Windows RT tablets in the figure?

    2. How did iOS lost so much market share in such a short time, given the Docomo momentum? The reported figure from Kantor back in March was 69% share for iOS.
  • I'm curious about Nokia numbers

    I think they will be out tomorrow, earlier I was thinking about 7.5 millions lumia sales for the quarter, with some doubts they could reach 7 millions - but now even 7 millions look optimistic.
    Flagship is not the problem, WP sales of flagship devices is marginal.
    Without broader OEMs push, with a bad OS and poor strategy they don't have much chances to succeed.
    • Please elaborate

      Why do you say it's a bad OS? And what would you improve about their strategy?
      • Because it is a bad OS

        I went from an Arrive on Sprint, bought launch week, to an L920 on AT&T. I am currently running the 8.1 developer preview.

        It is a bad OS.

        Ignoring iOS for a moment, which is also a bad OS and increasingly an also-ran, and looking to Android, which is where the competition clearly is now, name one you can do on Windows Phone that you can't do as well or better on Android.

        By the way, this includes core MS functionality. On Android, there are many applications that will let me edit DOC or XLS files, for example. But this functionality was inexplicably removed from Windows Phone? How on earth can it be that the Office experience is crippled on MS's own platform? Same goes for Skype, Remote Desktop (which just hit beta on WP), and more.

        The solution is simple: open up WP to developers by giving them access to more of the system, and they will begin to plug the holes for you.
        x I'm tc
        • What you want...

 an Android phone. With "opening up" the OS come security holes and instabilities. Note, I love my Nexus 4 phone but I am also a geek and know how to manage my own device. The average user just wants something that works without fiddling too much, hence why iOS is very popular even though its so locked down.

          I agree with you though that MS really needs to get aggressive with development. Their own products should work absolutely the best on WP and it should be used as a showcase product for MS services. They should also make it the go to solution for enterprise by making them manageable via GPO instead of an MDM even if that means federating out ADFS to a cloud service.

          Its MS segment to lose and so far they are losing.
          Rann Xeroxx
      • People don't like it

        As simple as that. I could go on detail and try to guess about the reasons behind it, but is clear by now that people are not very keen to buy WP phones.
        In Europe, Nokia name was doing WP a favor, but even that is eroding.
        Microsoft have an operating system for smartphones long before many and they are struggling to reach a 5% market share - something is wrong with the strategy. Do I know how they could fix it? I might have ideas, but probably they would fail even more miserable - there must be a reason some CEOs make a lot more money than me.... but for Elop I'm sure it wasn't deserved :P
  • Get Some Bullets for Your Gun

    here's the chart:

    now take 10 paces, turn and fire away!
  • The stigma that may change...

    Microsoft's woes is by disassociating it with windows and Microsoft! Oops they are fooked