iOS reached a peak sometime last year as both it, and Android dominated over a virtual vacuum due to lack of any viable third-player. Symbian still manages to move the needle on a global scale but does not even register an asterisk now. Windows Phone has been around but there has not been any excitement over it until Windows Phone 8 rolled out, and its growth rate has been phenomenal. BlackBerry, formerly known as Research in Motion, continued to take a beating although that was pre-official-BlackBerry 10 (and still is in the US actually).
For the three month period ending in January, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech estimates that Apple’s iOS slipped from just above 50% market share to about 46% while Android gained to 49% from 43%. Much of this growth can be credited to Sprint. Kantar cites Sprint’s contract pricing for Android devices averaged about $95. Even then, most of that money went to Samsung (no surprise there) since Sprint had lowered the price of a Galaxy S III to $99.
Verizon now leads in the percentage of smartphone sales, but its share of iOS versus Android activations remains a bit more balanced at 56% (iOS) to 40% (Android) compared to AT&T where a full 70% of its smartphone activations are iPhones. Despite the aggressive pricing strategy Sprint played, its growth was marginal and the carrier is still suffering a net-loss of subscribers.
Going forward it will be interesting to see how the progress of Android as well as any (hopeful) advancements in iOS will be reflected in how the two giants share the bulk of the market. Windows Phone needs to maintain its momentum and we will see if BlackBerry can get its mojo back. MWC has revealed to us the Firefox OS is coming to town too.
+- Press Release
Price reductions for flagship models contribute to Android's performance, says Kantar Worldpanel ComTech
New York, February 25–Android regained the top spot as the best selling smartphone platform in the 3 months ending January 2013, according to data released today by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. With 49.4% of smartphone sales, Android realized 6.4% growth compared to the same period last year.
iOS was second during the period with 45.9% of smartphone sales, down 4.7% versus last year. Windows continues to make gains, up to 3.2% of smartphone sales.
Top carrier rankings have also shifted with Verizon regaining its top spot with 35.2% smartphones sold in the 3 months ending January 2013. AT&T falls to second with 28.2% of smartphone sales. Sprint maintains third position with 14.2% share.
The data is derived from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech USA's consumer panel, which is the largest continuous consumer research mobile phone panel of its kind in the world, conducting more than 240,000 interviews per year in the U.S. alone. ComTech tracks mobile phone behavior and the customer journey, including purchasing of phones, mobile phone bills/airtime, and source of purchase and phone usage. This data is exclusively focused on the sales within this 3 month period rather than market share figures. Sales shares exemplify more forward focused trends and should represent the market share for these brands in future.
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech analyst Mary-Ann Parlato states, "Part of Android's increase in the latest period can be attributed to its large gain in share within Sprint's smartphone sales. In the three month period ending October 2012, sales on Sprint were divided almost 50/50 between Android and iOS. However, in the latest period, Android's share of Sprint sales increased by 22.6% points from 49.3% to 71.9%."
Average prices paid for Android smartphones on Sprint have also declined over the latest period.
"The 50/50 split we saw in the period ending October 2012 was a result of both iOS and Android sharing similar levels of average price paid (iOS at $130 and Android at $127).Yet this latest period saw a significant price drop to $95 for Android, while iOS increased slightly to $146," continues Parlato.
One particular phone that led to Android's gains at Sprint was the Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung's flagship model launched in mid-2012. While this model only captured 14% of smartphones sold at Sprint in the October period, a price drop from $199 to $99 over the holiday season led to the SIII gaining 39% of smartphone sales on Sprint. On T-Mobile, the only other major carrier where Android consistently is the top selling platform, the SIII represented just 18% of smartphone sales in the latest period.
Samsung smartphones represented 60.3% of smartphones sold on Sprint in the January period. Unfortunately for Sprint, the gains made by Android and Samsung did not translate into a large sales growth for Sprint, gaining only 0.8% year on year.