Kantar's Worldpanel ComTech report for the three months to January 2014 (PDF), published today (Monday), shows that Android remains the market leader in smartphones with a 68.5 percent share across Europe. Apple is second with 19.0 percent while Windows Phone -- the fastest growing smartphone in Europe -- grew to 10.1 percent. In the EU5 countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK), Windows Phone gained 4 percentage points compared with the same quarter in 2013, while Apple's iOS lost 3.9 percentage points.
But this is less impressive compared with the results from the last quarter of 2013, when Windows Phone's share was slightly higher, at 10.3 percent.
Either way, the results vary greatly with geography. For example, Android is dominant in Spain, with 86.6 percent market share compared with 7.2 percent for iOS, but the race is closer in the UK, where Android is ahead by 55.2 percent vs 30.7 percent. The biggest contrast is between the China (80.9 percent Android vs 17.4 percent iOS) and Japan (30.5 percent Android vs 68.7 percent iOS).
Windows Phone was the only smartphone to increase its market share in the UK, where it almost doubled from 6.4 percent to 11.3 percent following the success of the economically-priced Nokia Lumia 520. However, Android remained the market leader on 55.2 percent, followed by iOS at 30.7 percent. Blackberry declined from 5.7 to 2.4 percent.
Kantar's Dominic Sunnebo said in a statement: "Nokia has continued its successful tactic of sucking up remaining featurephone owners across Europe. Even in Britain, where smartphone penetration is at 70 percent, there are over 14 million featurephone consumers for it to target. At some point Nokia will have to start making serious inroads into the smartphone competition, but for the time being its strategy in Europe is working."
Sunnebo also noted that sales of the Apple iPhone 5C had taken off in the UK, where it was "the third best-selling smartphone over the past three months" after the iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy S4. However, there was a strong gender difference: "in Britain 74 percent of 5C buyers are female versus just 36 percent for the 5S". These female buyers are not as "engaged" with their phones.
In Europe, however, Kantar reckons "the real battle now is among the Android manufacturers. Samsung is dominant, with 39.5 percent of sales, but this is lower compared with last year. Its position is being eroded by the likes of LG (6.9 percent), Sony (9.4 percent) Motorola (1.7 percent) and new brand Wiko (2 percent), which are all increasing their share of sales."