iOS Grew U.S. Market Share This Spring Thanks to ‘Unprecedented Depth’ of Price Options as Android ‘Felt the Heat’

In the United States, iOS saw significant growth in the three months ending June 2018, with market share up 5.9 percentage points to 38.7 percent as tracked in the newest data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Helping to boost iOS performance were sales for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, together accounting for nearly one in five smartphones sold in the time period.


Apple's other flagship smartphone from 2017, the iPhone X, was the fourth best-selling device during the April–June 2018 period in the United States. As iOS grows in the United States, Samsung and LG smartphones have "felt the heat" recently, with Android's operating system dropping 4.5 percentage points in the U.S. market during this time, down to 61 percent.

Kantar Worldpanel's Dominic Sunnebo explains that iPhones made up eight out of the ten best-selling smartphones in the three months ending in June, thanks in part to Apple's "unprecedented depth" across the price spectrum of its smartphones. Currently, customers interested in iPhone can start as low as $349 for the iPhone SE, or opt for the high-end 256GB iPhone X at $1,149.00.
“Apple continues to wield huge power in the US market, with iPhone models making up eight out of the ten best-selling models in the past three months. Apple currently enjoys unprecedented depth across the smartphone price spectrum, ranging from the iPhone SE to the $1,000 iPhone X; resulting in continued growth and hitting Samsung and LG hard. While Samsung is well represented at the premium end of the market with its S9 and Note series, and its budget orientated J series helps compete against LG, lack of depth in the mid-high tier is allowing Apple to find a new avenue for growth.”
iPhone X continued to be the top-selling device in China, making up 5.3 percent of all handsets sold during the period and becoming the best-selling smartphone in the country every month since it was released in November 2017. iOS still dropped 2.1 percentage points during this time, however, down to 19.4 percent of the smartphone OS sales share in China, while Android grew 2 percentage points to 80.4 percent.


Elsewhere, iOS sales share grew in Germany (2.8 percentage points), France (4.2), Spain (3.8), Australia (0.5), and Europe (1.3). As iOS grew in these territories, Android (and other operating systems) saw their shares dip. Android's 4.5 percentage point drop in the U.S. was its greatest loss, which is notable as one of the biggest drops for the Android OS in Kantar's U.S. tracking over the last year.

Android did manage to gain share against iOS in a few other countries beyond China, including Italy, Japan, and the UK.

For Apple, the company didn't launch an iPhone in the spring like it has done in previous years such as with the iPhone SE in 2016 and the revamped storage capacities in 2017, so it is interesting that Apple still managed to boost smartphone OS share without a brand-new product.

As we enter the second half of 2018, Apple is expected to debut three new iPhones in September -- a second-generation iPhone X, 6.5-inch "iPhone X Plus," and 6.1-inch low-cost iPhone -- which will likely see iOS boosted even more into the holiday season, although the upcoming months typically see iOS's share dwindle as people await fall updates.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X

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iPhone X Was One of the Top Three Best-Selling Smartphones in December 2017 Across Five Markets

Apple's iPhone X made it into the top three best-selling smartphones in December 2017 "across all key regions," according to new data tracked by Kantar Worldpanel. Specifically, Apple's new iPhone X climbed best-selling charts in Europe, Japan, Australia, the United States, and China, where it was the top selling model during the holiday season this year.


Although iOS market share fell 0.5 percentage points in the U.S. during the October to December 2017 period (down to 43.9 percent), the researchers noted that iOS loyalty "reached a new high of 96 percent." Ultimately, Kantar argued that Apple's staggered release of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X has been a "sound" strategy with multiple price points offering entry points for a wider variety of consumers and "boosting" Apple's smartphone OS share in these key markets.
“The full results for the last quarter of the year show that Apple’s decision to release three new handsets over a staggered period, including the ultra high-end iPhone X, has been a sound one. With Apple’s existing release structure, expectations would always be that the flagship model would be the top selling device in key developed markets, but with the premium price of iPhone X, real life affordability has come into play. Given that in December iPhone X made it into the top three best-selling devices across all key regions, particularly in urban China where it was the top selling model, the pricing strategy seems to have been vindicated.”
In total, Apple's piece of the global smartphone OS market saw a percentage point increase across six markets in the three months ending December 2017. iOS market share climbed 0.5 percentage points in Spain and Japan, 0.7 in Europe, 1.2 in Australia, 2.5 in Germany, and 10.1 in China. Apple's growth in China has "continued to impress" Kantar, with the iOS smartphone sales share in China growing from 24.3 percent in September-November to 28.6 percent in October-December 2017.


Besides Apple, Kantar also discussed Samsung and the Android OS market share, noting Android's losses in a few markets (down 10.1 percentage points in China amid Apple's rise). The researchers pointed out that these losses were "cushioned" to an extent by the "rapid fall of Windows," which has a share now of under 1 percent in every market tracked by Kantar except Italy (1.9 percent).

With today's report from Kantar, this marks the final time we'll see smartphone OS market share data only focused on months in 2017. It should be interesting to see how Apple and iOS perform following the 2017 holidays and into the new year, amid ongoing reports in recent weeks focused on "weakened demand" and lowered production volume for the iPhone X in Q1 2018.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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iPhone X Sales Were ‘Stellar’ in Several Countries During First Month of Availability

Kantar Worldpanel's newest smartphone OS data details the "stellar" performance of the iPhone X in multiple markets around the world during November, amid an overall "mixed performance" for iOS devices from September to November 2017. While Apple's piece of the smartphone ecosystem fell in Great Britain, the United States, Japan, and Australia, the company saw ongoing growth in urban China during this period.

Specifically, iOS dropped 3.8 percentage points in the U.S. when compared to the year-ago period, resulting in a total smartphone OS sales share of 39.8 percent. In the U.S., Android grew 4 percentage points to capture 59.4 percent of the smartphone OS market.


Kantar noted that in the U.S. the iPhone X was outsold by the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in November, coming in third and helping Apple capture the three top spots for the best-selling smartphone models that month. The researchers said that Apple "easily" beat Samsung's Galaxy S8, which landed at sixth place.

In China, Kantar said that iOS "continues to impress" with a growth of 4.6 percentage points from the previous year and sitting at 24.3 percent of the smartphone OS market in the country. At the same time, Android fell 4.6 percentage points, but it still owns 75.5 percent of the smartphone OS share in China.


Kantar Worldpanel global director Dominic Sunnebo explained that Apple's growth in China during this period was helped by "staggering" demand for the iPhone X, despite its high price tag, and came from users who were mostly switching sides from rival smartphone makers.
“Apple was riding on the back of some momentum before the iPhone X release but demand for latest model in urban China has been staggering given its price point.

“Apple is now back on form – the iPhone X was the top selling model in urban China in November, with a market share of 6.0%. Unlike in Europe and the US, where the vast majority of new early iPhone X sales came from existing Apple smartphone owners, in urban China there are significant numbers of Huawei, Xiaomi and Samsung customers switching to the new iPhone models, which they deem a cut above the rest.”
Despite an overall percentage point loss for Apple in Great Britain from September to November (down 4.2 points), Kantar said that for the month of November only, "Apple achieved its highest share in more than three years." The company reached 49.4 percent of the market in November thanks to iPhone X demand, beating out Samsung and "easily regaining" the number one sales spot for the month.

For most markets, Kantar wondered how long Apple will be able to keep its sales momentum going with the smartphone's high price tag. Numerous reports in recent weeks have discussed the same topic, with analysts predicting "weakened demand" in Q1 2018 now that early adopters have received their iPhone X.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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iOS Lost Market Share in Numerous Countries From August to October 2017 as People Waited for iPhone X

Apple's piece of the smartphone ecosystem market fell in eight total territories during the August-October 2017 timeframe, according to new data tracked by Kantar Worldpanel. Echoing numerous stories from earlier this fall that reported people were waiting for the iPhone X and not purchasing an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus, Kantar's data showed a 7.6 percentage point drop for iOS in the United States when compared to the same year-ago period.


That number was higher in Great Britain where iOS dropped 8.5 percentage points from 2016, and was followed by Japan (down 6.9 percentage points), Germany (down 1.6), France (down 0.6), Italy (down 0.5), and Australia (down 0.2). While iOS dropped 7.6 points in the U.S., Android increased by 8.2 percentage points during this time.

In the same three-month period ending October of last year, 30.1 percent of iOS users in Europe and the U.S. had owned their iPhones for more than two years. iPhone X excitement further affected this statistic as well, increasing to 35.3 percent in 2017 and "signifying considerable pent-up demand" for the iPhone X, according to Kantar.
“It was somewhat inevitable that Apple would see volume share fall once we had a full comparative month of sales taking into account the non-flagship iPhone 8 vs. the flagship iPhone 7 from 2016,” said Dominic Sunnebo, Global Business Unit Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “This decrease is significant and puts pressure on the iPhone X to perform. Considering the complete overhaul that the iPhone X offers, consumers may be postponing their purchase decisions until they can test the iPhone X and decide whether the higher price, compared to the iPhone 8, is worth the premium to them.”

“As of October 2017, 35.3% of Apple’s installed base customers across Europe and the USA had owned their iPhones for more than two years – up from 30.1% a year earlier and signifying considerable pent-up demand within Apple’s base. In pure value terms, it is likely the iPhone X average selling price will more than make up for a dip in sales of older iPhone models,” Sunnebo added.
While Apple saw a drop in most countries, iOS share grew slightly in China during this period with a 0.5 percentage point increase, suggesting that the company's ongoing efforts to expand its foothold in the Chinese market are paying off. Apple CEO Tim Cook furthered that sentiment during a keynote speech at China's annual state-run World Internet Conference over the weekend, where he said that Chinese developers have earned more selling apps on Apple's iOS platform than developers from any other country.


Now that the iPhone X has been out for a month, sales figures for the smartphone have been positive and Apple has continuously improved delivery dates for the device over the subsequent weeks. Research shared by IHS Markit earlier in December reported that early adoption rates for the iPhone X -- looking at its first three weeks on the market -- beat the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7 Plus during similar timeframes. According to TrendForce, this strong iPhone X demand will help push Apple ahead of Samsung in Q4 2017 to become the world's largest smartphone maker.

Related Roundups: iOS 11, iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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iOS Gained Market Share in Most Countries This Summer, Although Samsung Drove Gains for Android in UK

Apple's portion of the mobile ecosystem market increased in eight major territories in the three months ending August 2017, according to new data collected and shared by Kantar Worldpanel. Over the summer of 2017, iOS saw growth in the following territories compared to the same year-ago period: Spain (4.4 percentage point increase), followed by China (4.3), the United States (3.7), Germany (2.3), France (1.7), the European Union (1.2), Australia (0.9), and Italy (0.4).

Specifically, iOS grew from 31.3 to 35 percentage points year-over-year in the U.S., and although Android still dominates the U.S. smartphone OS market at 63.2 percentage points, it has dipped slightly from its hold of 66.1 percentage points in the same year-ago period. Dominic Sunnebo, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's Global Business Unit Director, said that "Apple maintained strong momentum in the US one month before the release of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus," so iOS should continue to see positive growth in future data that measures the holiday months.

Galaxy S8 compared with iPhone 8

However, Apple's iOS decreased slightly in the United Kingdom/Great Britain in the summer months this year. The drop in iOS market share is said to be due to Samsung's "significant" promotional activity for its Galaxy S8 and J3 smartphones eating into Apple's pre-iPhone 8 sales. In total, Apple devices running iOS accounted for 33.9 percentage points during this summer period in the UK, dropping 2 percentage points from 35.9 one year prior.

Although this was "offset slightly" by strong sales of the iPhone SE, Samsung itself saw a 6.4 percentage point increase in the June-August 2017 period in the UK. Overall, Android OS grew from 58.9 in 2016 to capture 65.3 percentage points in the three month period. Of course, once Apple's sales of new iPhones are accounted for in future data by Kantar Worldpanel, iOS should see a resurgence.

A few Galaxy S8 owners mentioned both promotional materials put out by Samsung and a "good deal" on the device as key factors to their purchases. At the time of its launch, Samsung said the S8 marked its "best ever" pre-order period for a smartphone.
“Samsung took full advantage of the weeks just before the iPhone 8 and iPhone X were released in Great Britain, with significant promotional activity that helped drive its overall share to a three-year high of 38.4% for the three months ending August 2017,” explained Dominic Sunnebo, Global Business Unit Director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “More than one in four Galaxy S8 buyers cited a specific promotion as a key purchase influencer, and almost half said that a good deal on the price of the phone was key to their purchase. Both of these metrics experienced a large increase over the last two months of the period.”
Otherwise, the only other regression centered in Japan and accounted for just 0.1 percentage points lost by iOS between 2016 and 2017.

Global smartphone OS shares data via Kantar Worldpanel

iOS market share is expected to see another boost thanks to the launch of the iPhone X, which has caused many people to put off ordering the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in anticipation of Apple's greatly redesigned smartphone. Pre-orders for the device go up two weeks from today on October 27, while the official launch date will come three weeks from today on November 3.

For more data on the global market shares of smartphone operating systems, check out Kantar Worldpanel's research right here.


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