Android remains the dominant operating system globally, with a roughly 75 percent smartphone market share, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. However, recent sales data reflects strong year-over-year share growth for the iPhone in most markets, with the notable exception of China.
Kantar says that in the US the iPhone has seen its “strongest rate of growth [ ] in more than two years.” Android sales also grew around the world, declining however in the US market. Interestingly, according to Kantar, the Android trend in the US is one of year-over-year decline.
In the EU’s top five markets Android holds a 75 percent share, with the iPhone at 21 percent and Windows holding on at 3.2 percent. In China, Android has a more than 80 percent market share, though the Chinese Android market is quite different from the rest of the world (third party app stores dominate vs. Google Play). Notwithstanding its overall Chinese market share, Kantar says the “iPhone 7 was the second best selling phone in Urban China.”
In the US, Android holds 58 percent to the iPhone’s roughly 40 percent market share. The continuing decline of Android in the US may be partly about Samsung’s recent troubles. The iPhone has its greatest strength in “premium markets,” such as the US, UK and Japan.
Confirming our suspicions and other initial data, Kantar says that the Google Pixel is selling extremely well:
Google achieved 0.5% of smartphone sales, a strong showing given that the Pixel was only widely available from October 20th. In that short time, Google has reached market parity with more established brands like Huawei and Microsoft, who are also at 0.5%.
The Pixel may also be benefiting from Samsung’s woes.
But perhaps the most interesting development in the Android universe is the return of Nokia to the smartphone market in 2017 (following the expiration of the non-compete with Microsoft). While Nokia’s Android return has been in development for some time, the Finnish company isn’t making the phones; it’s licensing the brand to third party HMD Global. Google is reportedly working “closely” with Nokia and its manufacturing partner in the development of the new devices.
Nokia’s fateful decision to use the Windows Phone operating system exclusively was one of the contributing factors to its demise (Microsoft acquisition). Given the strength of the Nokia brand, especially in Europe, it would be ironic — though perhaps not surprising — if the company returns to the market with a successful Android smartphone next year.