Apple's iOS Market Share in U.S. Edged Out Android in Q4
A new report by Kantar's Chief of Research Carolina Milanesi states that the latest smartphone sales data for the fourth quarter of 2014, shows that Apple's share of sales grew across the US, Europe* and China during the most important Christmas period, driven by a strong portfolio of devices.
Carolina Milanesi reports that in the US, Apple iOS overtook Android for the first time since this time in 2012, albeit by the slimmest margin (see chart below). "While the success of the iPhone 6 and 6Plus is unprecedented, this quarter's performance also points to Apple having its strongest portfolio ever. With a range of devices available at different price points in both contract and pre-pay Apple was able to take advantage of a weaker Android offering at the premium end of the market."
Throughout the holiday quarter, the iPhone 6 was the best-selling smartphone in the US and was also the most popular smartphone to give as a gift. Samsung retained its number two spot in the vendor chart with the Galaxy S5 which was the second best-selling smartphone.
The report further noted that Across Europe, Android's share declined by 3.8 percentage points year-on-year to 66.1% while iOS rose by 6.2 percentage points. Great Britain had the biggest impact on the decline as iOS grew its share of sales by 13.1 percentage points compared to this time last year with Samsung, LG and Sony all losing market share both year over year and over the previous quarter.
"In Urban China, Apple iOS grew share year-on-year at the expense of Android," explained Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar Asia. Almost a quarter of Chinese consumers who bought an iPhone in the past three months were acquiring their first smartphone, compared to 16.5% for the same period in 2013.
Milanesi concluded that "as the opportunity to attract first-time smartphone buyers in developed economies diminishes, retaining loyal customers is becoming as important as winning them over from competing platforms. Apple's average customer loyalty of 87% across the US and Europe certainly looks promising."
While Samsung might be feeling some pressure its brand loyalty remains by far the strongest within the Android ecosystem with an average of 62% across the US and big European markets.
And lastly, the report notes that Apple was certainly on the top of US consumers minds when it came to their holiday season wish lists. Nationally, iPhones represented 57% of all smartphones given as gifts while iPads made up 33.7% of all gifted tablets. The iPhone 6 was the single most gifted smartphone while the iPad Air was the most gifted tablet.
We reported on Monday that Apple was the number one luxury brand for gifts in the world ahead of Louis Vuitton watches as noted in a Hurun chart as noted below.
The official Hurun report noted that although consumer spending was down 5% for the year, "Consumer electronics, led by Apple, was the gift of choice, overtaking LV and last year's Number One Hermes, which dropped down to seventh."
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