Nearly half of iPhone 5c owners have switched from Android

2 Dec 2013

The iPhone 5c

Almost half of Apple iPhone 5c owners switched from competitor brands like Android-based Samsung and LG. By comparison, 80pc of iPhone 5s owners upgraded from a previous iPhone model.

New research from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech indicates that while the new models have helped boost Apple’s marketshare, they have not seen the same uplift as when the iPhone 5 was released in 2012.

Across Europe Android remains the number one OS with 70.9pc share, with Apple holding 15.8pc.  Windows continues to achieve rapid growth and now accounts for 10.2pc of European smartphone sales. 

“In almost all markets, the iPhone 5s and 5c releases have given iOS a significant bounce compared to the previous month,” Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech said.

“Generally, Apple’s share of the market still remains lower than when the iPhone 5 was released, although this is not wholly unexpected as shoppers tend to react more positively to ‘full’ releases than incremental improvements such as the 5s and 5c.  

“However, the new releases have led to spectacular results in certain markets. In Japan, where the iPhone is now available via the country’s largest carrier NTT DoCoMo, Apple’s share hit 76.1pc during October. In the US, Apple’s October share reached 52.8pc.

“Mainland Europe remains more challenging for iOS, particularly in markets like Italy and Germany where handset subsidies are far lower. Britain is more positive; iOS sales share is now at 28.7pc for the last three months, with sales driven by the higher-end 5s model which has outsold the 5c by three to one since their release.”

Apple reaches a broader audience

The release of the iPhone 5c marks Apple’s first move away from high-end handsets, a strategy that has attracted new customers to try the brand for the first time.  

“The cheaper 5c appeals to a broader audience than Apple usually attracts. In the US, the biggest demand for these mid-end models is coming from lower income households,” Sunnebo said. 

“Some 42pc of iPhone 5c owners earn less than US$49,000 compared with just 21pc for iPhone 5s. iPhone 5c customers also tend to be slightly older at an average of 38 years compared to 34 years for the 5s. The good news for Apple is that this wider appeal is attracting significant switching from competitors. Almost half of iPhone 5c owners switched from competitor brands, particularly Samsung and LG, compared with 80pc of 5S owners who upgraded from a previous iPhone model.”

Windows’ progress had continued in the latest period, with share in the five largest EU economies now past 10pc and share in the US close to 5pc. 

 “Momentum for Windows Phone is continuing, although its growth remains reliant on low-end handsets. In Britain, almost three quarters of Nokia Lumia sales in the latest period were low-end devices such as the Lumia 520 and 620 – a pattern that is similar across other EU markets. 

“China remains a key challenge for Nokia, with its market share languishing at 3.5pc.  Local Chinese brands are becoming increasingly dominant in the world’s largest smartphone market, selling high specification Android devices at low prices. 

“If Microsoft partnered with a major local brand it could help drive Windows Phone momentum but, with the Nokia takeover imminent, this does not look likely to happen anytime soon,” Sunnebo said.

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