iPhone 5 puts a halt to Android market gain in US and UK

30 Oct 2012

Google’s Android operating system continued to gain share across Europe in the past 12 weeks of sales, increasing its share to 67.1pc from 50.9pc a year ago. But the rate of growth stalled in week 1 of iPhone 5’s launch on 21 September.

According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Apple increased its share from 18.1pc to 28pc in the past year across the UK, while in the US its share increased by 14.2pc.

In the UK, smartphones make up 81pc of all mobile sales, rising to 94pc among 25-34-year-olds.

Even among over 65-year-olds, smartphones made up 58pc of purchases, signalling the imminent demise of the feature phone.

“While this latest data set only includes one week of iPhone 5 sales, we can see that in markets with a large number of existing Apple customers, sales have already seen a significant boost,” Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, explained.

“We expect this momentum to be fully realised in the next set of results.”

The impact of 4G on the UK’s consumer economy

Today, EE launched the first 4G services in 10 cities across the UK and Sunnebo predicts consumers will wish to replicate their home Wi-Fi experience on the go.

“EE is in the unique position of being the only operator currently able to offer 4G services in the UK, but how much of an impact this will have on the competitive landscape remains an unknown.”

Sunnebo said he expects to see a significant number of early adopters on Orange and T-Mobile trading up to a 4G EE contract; however, encouraging significant switching from competitors is likely to remain challenging.

“Consumers are increasingly savvy about new technology and there are likely to be a significant number of consumers who will wait until the likes of Vodafone and O2 bring out their offerings, in the hope that prices will be driven down.

“The message to consumers about the advantages of 4G over existing 3G will need to be very clear and indicate new possibilities which are open to subscribers.

“For example, already over 65pc of smartphone users access social networks on their phones, but it is in areas such as mobile TV and feature-length streaming that 4G is likely to really open up new media-rich experiences to users,” Sunnebo said.

Initial results from the first continuous mobile phone research panel in China show iOS and Android make up 84pc of all smartphone sales, with a total of 209m smartphone owners.

Sunnebo adds: “Samsung is the most popular Android manufacturer in China, with sales of Samsung Galaxy SII and SIII spearheading growth. HTC is also performing strongly as a result of its new Desire series.

“However, the number of Android OS manufacturers in the Chinese market is keeping more established global brands under pressure. Local brands such as Huawei, Lenovo, Xiaomi and Coolpad are all providing high-spec, low-cost handsets that lower-tier cities crave.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years