The latest from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows that the Android operating system has almost nabbed half of the UK smartphone market. In addition, customers are now shopping for specific smartphone operating systems, not only specific handset makes.
The report says that Android holds a 49.9% share of the GB smartphone market, followed by BlackBerry (22.5%) and Apple (18.5%). Smartphones made up 69.1% of sales over the 12 weeks, to 2 October 2011, meaning that 43.8% of the GB population now owns a smartphone.
Android’s position as the number one OS across Europe is clear; however a key battle ground is now emerging between the handset manufacturers which use the system. HTC’s meteoric rise within the mobile arena is due to its popular Android handsets sold at a range of different prices. Despite intense competition, it has managed to maintain its GB share of Android over the year, making up 44.8% of Android sales in the past 12 weeks.
Samsung however is hot on its heels, with sales of the Galaxy S II and Ace handsets driving its share of Android sales up to 37.9% compared with 25.2% a year ago. The success of HTC and Samsung has left Sony Ericsson feeling the squeeze as it drops its share of Android sales to just 8.5% down from 20.5% last year.
Dominic Sunnebo, Global Consumer Insight Director, explains: “With so many Android handsets now available manufacturers need to work harder than ever to make their proposition stand out to consumers. HTC and Samsung have market leading flagship products that offer something for everyone. Sony Ericsson, however, is still playing catch up. It will need to convince consumers that its products can equal those of HTC and Samsung.
“Over the next six to twelve months the current group of Android owners will be coming to the end of their contracts and looking for an upgrade. Our data shows that when these consumers upgrade they tend to remain fairly loyal to Android itself (62% buy another Android mobile), but considerably less so to the manufacturer. A key challenge for the likes of HTC and Samsung will be to continue to attract non-smartphone customers while keeping their existing Android base loyal.”
Around the world...
With smartphone competition rife across Europe and the US, manufacturers are starting to look further afield. Fast growing economies such as Brazil present a key opportunity for long-term mobile growth. While Nokia dominates overall sales of mobile in Brazil, with 30.3% share in the latest 12 weeks, there are signs that Android is starting to make its mark on developing economies.
Currently, smartphones only make up 6% of sales in Brazil but they are likely to experience strong growth over the next two to three years. Nokia make up 56.5% of Brazilian smartphone sales but Android is growing fast, now holding a 19.3% share in the latest 12 weeks. The Samsung Galaxy 5 is taking the lion’s share of these Android sales.
Sunnebo continues: “Up until very recently, markets like Brazil have been dominated by basic Nokia, Samsung and LG mobiles. However, a rapidly expanding middle-class in this country means consumers are increasingly demanding higher-end devices and there are clear signs Android smartphones are starting to fill this need. With a population of 193 million people and 94% of mobile owners not yet owning a smartphone, the opportunity is huge.”
read more: Android coming up trumps in the UK