London – Android’s share of smartphones sold to U.S. end users rose 8.2 percentage points to 57.6 percent on a year-over-year basis, and the share of smartphones incorporating Apple’s iOS fell 7.8 percent points to 35.9 percent, a Kantar Worldpanel ComTech survey found.
Apple’s decline follows a fourth-quarter decline in which iOS share fell 5.8 percentage points to 43.9 percent from the year-ago quarter while Android share rose 4.4 percentage points to 50.6 percent.
Though iOS share fell in the U.S., iOS share in other countries rebounded, with sales bouncing back in Europe, Japan and Australia, Kantar said. “Apple regained ground in the first quarter of 2014, primarily due to the strong performance of the iPhone 5S, growing its sales share in Europe, Japan and Australia,” said Dominic Sunnebo, Kantar strategic insight director. In contrast, he said, “Windows had a tough start to the year as a result of its entry-level Nokia models facing fierce competition from low-end Motorola, LG and Samsung Android smartphones.”
Despite iOS gains across Europe, iOS gained only 0.1 percentage point in the five largest European economies to 19.2 percent compared with the year ago. Android remained the top OS in the five largest European economies – the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain − with 70.7 percent share.
iOS posted stronger share gains in Japan and Australia. Apple’s Japan share rose 8.6 percentage points to 57.6 percent. There, Apple secured 42 percent of smartphone sales on NTT DoCoMo, 59 percent on KDDI AU, and 81 percent on Softbank, Kantar said. In Australia, iOS share rose 2 points to 33.1 percent.
Apple’s share in China fell 5.4 percentage points to 17.9 percent compared with the year-ago period, but that could change with Apple’s recent landing of a contract to sell iPhones to China’s largest carrier.
Apple has been hurt in China by the rise of phablets, whose screen sizes of 5 inches and up are larger than Apple’s 4-inch screens, Kantar said. Devices with a screen larger than 5 inches accounted for 40 percent of China’s smartphone sales in March.
“It’s clear that phablets really are changing the way Chinese consumers use smartphones,” Sunnebo said. “More than one in five phablet owners now watch mobile TV on a daily basis, half do so at least once a month, and this is without the widespread availability of 4G,” he said.
Back in the U.S., Windows Phone share fell 0.3 percentage points to 5.3 percent, and the BlackBerry OS share fell 0.2 percentage points to 0.7 percent. That followed a fourth quarter in which Windows’ share rose 1.9 percentage points to 4.3 percent, and BlackBerry share fell to 0.4 percent from the year-prior 0.9 percent.