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.