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Apple Closing the Gap for UK Smartphone Sales Share

iOS ended 2016 nearly on par with Android

April 13, 2017 | Mobile

Apple’s strategy of releasing new iPhone models in September—in good time for Christmas—has tended to yield a fourth-quarter spike in sales figures. 2016’s jump brought it tantalizingly close to topping Android for the honor of sales share supremacy for the period.

According to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, iOS’ share of smartphone sales for the three months ending December 2016 reached 47.6%, up 9 percentage points vs. Q4 2015 and just 3 percentage points shy of Android’s share.

Smartphone Sales Share in Great Britain, by OS, June 2012-Dec 2016 (% of total)

This is as close as Apple has gotten to Android in terms of sales share in recent memory, and its gain appears to have come at the expense of the rapidly diminishing influence of Windows Phone in the UK smartphone market. As recently as June 2015, Windows boasted a sales share of 11.3%. However, huge declines last year, in particular, saw it account for just 1.7% of total sales in Q4 2016.

UK Smartphone User Share, by OS, 2015-2019 (% of total)

Kantar’s findings are reflected, albeit slightly less spectacularly, in installed base figures. According to eMarketer estimates, Windows Phone users in the UK are a slowly dying breed. Having accounted for 7.2% of the market in 2015, that proportion will stand at just 5.8% this year. iOS’ share, meanwhile, has seen gradual gains, which are expected to continue through at least 2019.

The end-of-year sales spikes for iPhones don’t appear to be having much effect on Android user numbers, however. Android’s 55.6% share of the UK smartphone user base in 2015 will grow to 58.2% by 2019, eMarketer predicts.

But whatever the minutiae of market share changes, the UK’s smartphone OS space is now quite clearly a duopoly, and Apple’s reach is sizable.

Bill Fisher

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