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iPhone purchases rise, while Android falls

David Ludlow
8 Jun 2015
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Strong iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales are pushing iOS ahead of Android

While Android may still have the largest market share, largely due to the large number of smartphones at different prices, Apple is fighting back and gaining. Sales figures from Kantar WorldPanel ComTech have shown that in the UK that the iPhone now accounts for 35.8% of all new smartphone sales, an increase of 6.3% against the same period last year. 

Conversely, Android has dropped its new-sales market share by 4.9% to 54.2% year-on-year. Windows Phone remained fairly stable at 9% of sales (a drop of 0.5%), while other platforms (including BlackBerry) dropped 0.9% to just 1% of new sales. Kantar’s research data shows that first-time smartphone buyers have dropped from 21.8% of total sales in 2014 to 15.1% in 2015. 

“In Great Britain, Android share dropped by 4.9 percentage points, with the number of first time smartphone buyers continuing to decline to 15.1% from 21.8% in 2014 – and growth is coming from replacement sales, where both OS and brand loyalty play a big role,” said Dominic Sunnebo, business unit director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe.

A similar story has taken place across the across Europe with the iPhone growing market share at Android’s expense in Germany, Italy and Spain as well; in France, Android grew by 2% while iOS dropped 2.3%. The success of iOS can also be attributed to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with Apple’s new handsets driving demand.

Conversely, many of this year’s flagship handsets, such as the HTC One M9, haven’t been received very well; in fact, it’s only the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge that have shown any real innovation, but it's too early to tell if this will be enough: the S6 hasn’t been on sale for long enough to show in the sales figures, so the next quarter will be interesting to watch. Interestingly, the story is not repeated in the US, where iOS sales dropped by 2.1%, with Android increasing by 2.9%. 

With fewer new people buying a new smartphone for the first time, it’s clear that these figures will be swayed more and more by brand loyalty. Both Apple, with iOS 9 and its upcoming iPhone 6S, and Google with Android M, are going to have to work hard to keep customers and introduce features to persuade people to switch OS.

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