Android sales declined in the US, according to research
Google’s smartphone OS efforts have already panned out in Germany, and that success extends to the country’s neighbors as well. June 2012 data from Kantar Worldpanel showed Android taking a strong hold on smartphone sales in Western Europe during the previous 12 weeks. The Android operating system ran on the majority of smartphones sold in four of the EU-5 countries—Great Britain, France, Germany and Spain. And in Italy, the fifth country in the group, Android held 49.6% of the market, just shy of a majority share. One year earlier, Android accounted for under 50% of sales in each of those countries during the three-month period.
In Spain, Google has made a particularly successful bid to become the first name in the smartphone market. The country saw Android’s share of the market more than double from 41% in June 2011 to 84% one year later.
The lower price point for many Android-enabled smartphones may be particularly compelling in a region beleaguered by economic troubles but with a highly mature population of internet users. Google seems to have known the moment was ripe and aggressively asserted and expanded dominance in the field. Seen from this angle, it’s no surprise that the greatest increase would come from Spain, a notably depressed country with the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone. In contrast to Android, iOS dipped 2.5 percentage points in Spain, just behind France as the second-greatest iOS market loss.
comScore data on OS smartphone users in Germany and the UK, from Q1 and Q2 2012, respectively, confirmed the expansion of Android in Western Europe. Although comScore’s estimates were lower than Kantar’s, the growth trend was even more pronounced, with the share of smartphone users on the Android platform in Germany rising from 17% to 40%, and the share of UK users rising from 27% to 42%. The difference in estimates may come from comScore’s measurement of individual users vs. Kantar’s measurement of overall sales.
In contrast to Western Europe, Google’s progress in the US has slowed, according to Kantar. The study found that Android’s share actually declined by just under 7 percentage points, although Google still held onto a majority of sales in the country. The data from Kantar also differs somewhat from eMarketer’s own predictions for the US, which anticipates a rise of 6 percentage points in Google’s smartphone user share, putting Android at 43% in 2012. Like comScore, eMarketer’s numbers reflect individual users as opposed to sales.
With the smartphone market somewhat more nascent in Western Europe as compared to the US, Google is doing a good job of capturing mobile users as they upgrade to smartphones. According to Dominic Sunnebo, consumer insight director at Kantar, in a statement from the report, “Smartphone consumers are much more loyal to their brand of handset and carrier than feature phone consumers, highlighting the importance of capturing feature phone owners when they are starting to look to change their handset.”
eMarketer estimates that there will be 104.9 million smartphone users in Western Europe this year, and 179.3 million in 2014, when the region is expected to surpass North America. In 2016, Western Europe will have the world’s highest regional smartphone penetration. Growth will come in no small part from the efforts of Google to solidify and grow its lead within these mature countries.
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