​iPhone sales growing in Europe as buyers ditch their Androids for Apple

Apple's success in converting Europe's Android fanbase into iOS users is making the continent look more like the US.

Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus continue to convert Android users to iOS, with the Google OS' market share dropping in Europe's biggest five markets.

In the first quarter of 2015, iOS' share of sales climbed to 20.3 percent across Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, while Android fell to 68.4 percent, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

The figures show Europe has moved closer to the US for the proportion of users for each mobile OS: in the same period, Android grew to 58.1 percent of smartphone shipments in the US, while Apple declined slightly to 36.5 percent.

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According to Kantar, in Great Britain Android's market share fell 4.8 percentage points year-on-year, accounting for 52.9 percent of all shipments. iOS climbed 6.9 percentage points over the same period to 38.1 percent, spurred by new users abandoning their Android phones: 25.6 percent of new iOS owners in Great Britain switched from an Android device, Kantar said. Meanwhile, Windows Phone sales also declined year on year by 1.2 percentage points to eight percent.

For those buyers that choose to stick with their Android device, price is becoming an increasing concern.

"Thirty-five percent of consumers who bought an Android smartphone in 1Q15 said their decision was driven by receiving a good price on the phone. Another 29 percent said that getting a good deal on the tariff/contract was a factor in their purchase," Dominic Sunnebo, business unit director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe, said.

Among the biggest five markets in Europe, France was the only area where Apple saw a year-on-year decline, falling from 23.4 percent to 19.4 percent. Windows Phone may have been one of the beneficiaries, growing its share by 5.8 percentage points to 14.1 percent, while Android declined 0.6 percentage points to 64.6 percent.

In Italy, Android's decline from 70.7 percent a year ago to 66.8 percent in the latest quarter was mirrored by Apple's rise from 12.9 percent to 17.5 percent over the period.

And in Germany, Android's share fell 5.7 percentage points to 71.3 percent while iOS and Windows grew to 18.3 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, in Spain Android remains dominant with a 90 percent share of sales while iOS runs second with seven percent.

But nowhere in the world has seen a more dramatic shift towards iOS than in China, where Android declined eight percentage points and iOS rose 9.2 percentage points. Android accounted for 72 percent of sales while iOS accounted for 26.1 percent.

The latest report from Kantar doesn't look good for Microsoft's Windows Phone campaign: in Europe, it's grown only marginally to 9.9 percent, up from 8.1 percent last year. It's a similar picture in the US, where Windows Phone declined 1.1 percentage points to 4.3 percent.

Despite Microsoft's lacklustre performance, Kantar's chief of research Carolina Milanesi notes the Windows Phone does have hidden value.

"If we dig a little deeper, it is easy to see the strong value proposition that the Lumia portfolio offers, as Windows phone sales in the US skew towards the prepay market (20 percent) and instalment plans (51 percent). Microsoft is betting that new Windows 10 functions and the ability for developers to easily port Android apps to Windows will make the Windows ecosystem more appealing."

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