Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, stated in a new study released this morning that "In almost all markets, the iPhone 5S and 5C releases have given iOS a significant bounce compared to the previous month." The new Kantar report provides us with another view of how the iPhone 5C is trying to carve out a new market for Apple, yet oddly demonstrates that it may not be the market that Apple was aiming for.
Apple's results for the iPhone this year are mixed thus far. Sunnebo notes that "the new releases have led to spectacular results in certain markets. In Japan, where the iPhone is now available via the country's largest carrier NTT DoCoMo, Apple's share hit 76.1% during October. In the US, Apple's October share reached 52.8%.
Yet mainland Europe still remains more challenging for iOS, particularly in markets like Italy and Germany where handset subsidies are far lower. On the other hand, Britain is more positive; iOS sales share is now at 28.7% for the last 3 months, with sales driven by the higher-end 5S model which has outsold the 5C by three to one since their release."
The release of the iPhone 5C marks Apple's first move away from high-end handsets, a strategy that has attracted new customers to try the brand for the first time.
Sunnebo further states that "The cheaper 5C appeals to a broader audience than Apple usually attracts. In the US, the biggest demand for these mid-end models is coming from lower income households. Some 42% of iPhone 5C owners earn less than $49,000 compared with just 21% for iPhone 5S. Another oddity that popped in the Kantar study is that iPhone 5C customers tend to be slightly older at an average of 38 years compared to 34 years for the 5S.
The good news for Apple, according the study, is that "this wider appeal is attracting significant switching from competitors. Almost half of iPhone 5C owners switched from competitor brands, particularly Samsung and LG, compared with 80% of 5S owners who upgraded from a previous iPhone model."
The only question becomes, is this really the demographic that Apple was aiming for with the iPhone 5C? Looking at the wild iPhone 5C colors and their youthful holy cases, I think not. But we'll have to look at more data to confirm Kantar's initial findings.
While Kantar's study still showed that Android has a 71% lead in the mobile space, we've learned on Black Friday, the most important shopping day of the over, that Apple took close to 80% of online sales. Apple's iOS demonstrated its true market value and literally destroyed the Android myth that market share is what matters. It's only Wall Street that continues to cling to that metric that usually prevails. But against iOS, it's yet to materialize.
The fact is that Samsung is still playing games to gain volume by giving away their tablets that no one wants. Case in point: In Montreal Canada, Videotron was giving away a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 for signing up for a 2 year phone contract on Black Friday. Yes, giving it away just to push phony market share numbers.
This was a strategy of Samsung's that we first pointed to in May of this year. In August we reported DigiTimes noting that "Samsung is adopting a strategy to flood the market with various tablets including 7, 8- and 10-inch models, as it seeks to dethrone Apple." So giving away their tablets is simply following through with flooding the market, one market at a time. Who can't gain market share that way? Clearly Samsung can't go toe-to-toe with Apple on real tablet value so they resort to dirty and desperate tactics.
For now, Apple's iPhone 5C is gaining Samsung and LG converts and with a little more tweaking on price and fine tuning its features, the iPhone 5C may continue to win new customers for Apple over time.