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Do Android's shipment figures overstate the platform's market share?

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Do Android's shipment figures overstate the platform's market share?
According to stats compiled by web video network provider, Ooyala, the Apple iPhone accounts for 67% of video viewed over a smartphone with Android kicking in the remaining 33%. But those stats don't make sense at all when you consider that according to IDC, Android flavored smartphones account for 68% of shipments with 19% belonging to iOS over the same time period. What could this mean? Is there even a reasonable explanation for this?

The answer could be that the data measures the number of hours spent watching video rather than the actual number of videos viewed. That would then mean that iOS users watched videos for twice as long as Android users. And if that is the case, the next step would be to determine if there is something different in the make up of iOS owners vs. Android owners that makes them more likely to view videos on their phone for longer periods of time. But that really doesn't seem like a valid explanation.

Android controls 67% of mobile web traffic on only 19% of smartphone sales

Android controls 67% of mobile web traffic on only 19% of smartphone sales

Perhaps the best theory is that Android's "shipping" numbers cannot be compared to Apple's "sales" totals. Apple reports sales of its devices while Android and most other platforms report shipments. A good example of what can happen when you report two different items occurred during last year's Apple v. Samsung patent trial. The court ordered both Apple and Samsung to report sales from from mid-2010 to mid 2012. Samsung reported 21 million units of its smartphones were sold in the period as opposed to 62 million Apple iPhones that Apple reported as being sold during those two years. That comes closer to the mobile video traffic percentages than the IDC figures based on Samsung's "shipments".

While not perfect proof of the validity of this theory, if you look at the percentage of smartphone profits in 2012, Apple was responsible for 69% of smartphone profits last year. If Apple sold only 19% of North American smartphones, even with ridiculous margins, there is no way it could account for nearly 70% of profits. It is quite possible that end user sales of Android models are not as robust as thought. This would mean that the Android shipping figures overstate actual real world market share and other data.

Perhaps it is time for some organization to come to some decision on what standard to apply here. Or perhaps it just is not a big enough issue for the manufacturers to get involved in. But unless something changes, we are comparing Apples with oranges Android.

source: electronista

35 Comments
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posted on 12 Mar 2013, 00:59 12

1. clevername (Posts: 1428; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


Uh oh! I better defend >X< smartphone platform because that's the one that I use! >Z< smartphone platform sucks!!

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 01:51 4

10. Ohrules (Posts: 305; Member since: 11 Jun 2012)


offtopic, but you have to see this:
http://www.harlemify.com/?url=phonearena.com

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 06:22 4

19. lyndon420 (Posts: 1687; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


Apple sucks.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 01:02 11

2. nikenturd (unregistered)


Android dominates....period

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 01:32 5

7. KINGJUAN27 (Posts: 195; Member since: 02 Jul 2012)


Android is OVERRATED!

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 01:43 8

9. faisolbauuz (Posts: 121; Member since: 05 Jan 2013)


Remember when apple slogan is "think different" ?

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 03:54 2

14. PhoneArena. (banned) (Posts: 28; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)


Its hard to say that both are.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 05:27 2

17. KINGJUAN27 (Posts: 195; Member since: 02 Jul 2012)


Yes. Both Android and Apple are overrated!

So if you hate overrated platforms switch to
Windows or BlackBerry or anything else! :DD

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 18:23

32. Pings (Posts: 297; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


"Windows or BlackBerry"

Hahahahahahaha....

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 01:06 6

3. Equilibrium (Posts: 18; Member since: 15 Nov 2012)


I was under the impression Android reports it by devices activated, while Apple reports it based on items shipped.

Can anybody clarify?

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 01:19

4. xperiaDROID (Posts: 5047; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Both platforms have different kinds of reporting their devices and items.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 01:27

6. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)


it means +10 % for Android :)

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 07:22 1

22. Aeires (unregistered)


Can't speak for Apple but Android does go by phones activated.

Funny how so many people think they just ship phones without selling them. You'd think there was a profit in just moving stock around by the arguments of some.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 07:45 1

27. ithinkimjoe (Posts: 25; Member since: 19 Jan 2012)


As I can post URLs apparently, PhoneArena reported that the IDC reported Samsung topped Apple in smartphone SHIPMENTS in 2012. says nothing about sales or activations.

This is consistent with most articles posted by independent companies providing insight. Most android manufacturers don't actually reveal any SALES numbers. Google goes by activation, not all android manufacturers.

if you feel like searching, the title is "IDC: Samsung topped Apple in smart connected device shipments for 2012" and its from 2/22/13.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 08:05 2

28. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 846; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


People are overlooking the very obvious explanation of this. Most IOS users can't afford the apps in their own app store because they are always saving up for the next iPhone. Hence more free time to watch cat videos on youtube.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 01:25 1

5. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)


of course! Kids are usually watching videos......and they mostly like yellow colour! So just try to compare yellow colour displays in videos and you know who uses Apple's iConboards :)

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 01:34 6

8. Adithya7184 (Posts: 304; Member since: 05 Mar 2011)


oooyala...i never heard that thing....by this way apple wants convince people that iOS is better....lol.....you f****d up apple

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 02:03 1

11. nlbates66 (Posts: 278; Member since: 15 Aug 2012)


so what is Ooyala anyway? anybody heard of it? is it a backend of various video services?

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 02:44 4

12. MartianMe (unregistered)


Who cares?????? this is none sense.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 03:21 4

13. roscuthiii (Posts: 1785; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


Keep polishing Alan, keep polishing. That AAPL isn't getting any shinier.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 04:24 1

15. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


What the author of this article kindly fails to mention is the activation numbers Apple and Google mention at keynotes.

Are you implying Google is making those numbers up? And market share companies are lying? They have to be getting those numbers from somewhere independent of Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 07:14

21. ithinkimjoe (Posts: 25; Member since: 19 Jan 2012)


What you kindly fail to recognize, is that not all Apple and Android devices are "activated." Activated means turned on on a mobile network, not every iOS device, nor every Android device is sold through a carrier and activated on their network. I have a Galaxy Tab that would never show up as "activated" but it sure as hell would show up at "shipped." Same goes for the iPod Touch I have, would show up at "sold" and not "activated."

So no, the author is not saying that anyone is making numbers up, he's saying that their using certain terms to imply a higher market share %.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 07:23

23. Aeires (unregistered)


I always thought the numbers were counted when you logged into your account to get the Play store and whatnot after powering on a new phone. What network/carrier you are on is irrelevant.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 07:29

24. ithinkimjoe (Posts: 25; Member since: 19 Jan 2012)


you can activate a phone/tablet without logging into google services. so they'd count activation numbers as they'd most likely be higher. just like you don't need to log in with your apple ID after you've activated the iPhone.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 07:35 1

25. Aeires (unregistered)


And who does that? Who buys a phone and never downloads an app?

Seriously, I know Google goes by activations and I'm not completely sure exactly how that's calculated, but I don't know of or heard of anyone who buys a phone and doesn't log in. There's no way the massive market share that Android has shown is from people doing what you're saying.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 07:40

26. ithinkimjoe (Posts: 25; Member since: 19 Jan 2012)


I'm sure there are people who have just bought a smartphone for the internet.... i imagine this group consists of older purchasers of the free android phones. also, the play store and google services are not in every country around the world...

and obviously i'm not saying the mass market does it, i'm saying activations would give a high number to report because there will be people that don't log in. it can't be very hard for google to track phones that are activated on any mobile network worldwide.

and a lot of reports related to android selling companies report phones shipped and does the IDC when reporting market share numbers. they don't mention actual sales when talking about android phones.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 20:07

33. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


The author mentions all these things related to market share....but leaves out activations?

Thats part of my point.

By the way....I would be willing to bet an insane amount of money....that devices shipped to customers, bought by customers but not activated is an insanely small amount. Customers...not stores...

Activations might also be tied to IMEI, ESN ID's. Meaning that even if I install mutiple ROMs on my Android phones...and have to activate it each time....that happens when doing a major ROM change..... it wouldnt count as 3 activations, but one. I dont know....just guessing here.

Even if I pull out 3 old Android phones I have.....and activate them all on my 3 line plan....even tho their old....its still an Android phone in use. Meaning some one is using an Android phone.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 04:26

16. Edmund (Posts: 654; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)


"But unless something changes, we are comparing Apples with oranges Android". You mean Lemons??

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 05:39

18. JunkCreek (Posts: 399; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)


i like oranges and lemons more than apple. not haters, but the price is magically, revolutionary, unbelievably tagged.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 06:30 1

20. TylerGrunter (Posts: 864; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


Or just another biesed bashing to Android coming from Alan.
A more logical explanation: Ooyala is a USA company that's only available IN ENGLISH.
In the US and UK iOS has better numbers than in the rest of the world. Add to that statisc that it's counting OS, including smarphones and tablets. As Apple dominate the tablet market and probably tablets are more use to watch videos... there you have the difference.
But Alan compared the 70% Android got in SMARTPHONES WORLDWIDE to the statisc of both tablets and smarthphones video usage mainly in the US...
So Alan, may be it's you who should learn to compare smartphones to smartphones, OS to OS and Video Usage to Video Usage, and stop mixing things however it suits your taste.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 08:31 1

29. -box- (Posts: 3714; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


Another pro-apple article from Alan F!

Alan, I recommend an addendum to this piece of tripe, namely, investigating what actually constitutes apple's share figures, that is, warranty replacements, returns, and new. A very common solution to even trivial issues with iphones is to swap them out at an apple store, so if just half of apple users have such an issue, that could falsely inflate their sales figures by at least 50%, and even more for multiple lifetime exchanges. If they include returns (a popular option for those that want a newer model at an old model's price) that would inflate them even more.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 12:57

30. hepresearch (unregistered)


If I get an opportunity, I would like to systematically combine all of the data from the various analysis houses, based upon the exact metric each is measuring, and then make sure that we compare the RIGHT kind of data from each of the analysis houses in a format that shows how much agreement or disagreement there really is. I am confident that this could be done easily, given a little time and some slick work in MS Excel. I know how to do it.

We might then see that we've just been comparing the wrong types of measurements, and hence getting the confusion we've seen in the forums here and elsewhere. We might also find systematic over- or under-reporting for certain OS's by certain analysis houses, as well, which could be quite telling if it is the case.

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 15:58

31. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Android activations - around 1.5 million per day.
Do the math, Alan

posted on 13 Mar 2013, 03:21

34. PhoneG33k (Posts: 6; Member since: 18 Jul 2012)


Everyone in my household uses Dolphin HD as a browser. Depending on the site I am watching videos on I change my browser options. Most of the time I have it set to identify as "desktop". I prefer browsing the web as if I was using a pc instead of a mobile version.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 12:33

35. brd8951 (Posts: 23; Member since: 23 Nov 2011)


IOS users probably watch more videos because there's nothing else to do with their device. Users of other OS's have many more options to explore. :)

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