We have seen time and again how the growing number of Android-based handsets from a plethora of OEMs — and the popularity of some specific models, such as the Galaxy line from Samsung — is translating into a boom for the Android platform.
But that growth is even more striking when you compare it to other major platforms such as Apple’s iOS and RIM’s BlackBerry: according to numbers from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Android is the only platform that has grown over the last year in all the key markets surveyed by the research group. The rest saw their market shares either stay flat or decline in at least one geography.
The figures, which compile smartphone sales for the last 12 weeks ended October 2, paint a pretty stark picture showing which platform is benefiting most from the growth in smartphone usage by consumers.
Taking the markets of Australia, Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain and the U.S., the Android platform grew its share of smartphone sales anywhere between 19.3 percent and 50.4 percent (the full table for all countries is embedded below). Spain took the crown for the biggest amount of Android growth at 50.4 percent.
The only other platform that didn’t see any decline in any single market was Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 — although it saw zero percent growth in several markets, and its highest-recorded sales share was pretty small. In Germany, it accounted for 3.2 percent of all smartphone sales; a completely different story to Android’s dominance in the period.
Symbian, as we have seen before, is continuing its decline in market share, with its percentage of sales shrinking in every market — essentially the mirror opposite of Android. In many cases, Nokia’s now-legacy platform is now only accounting for single-digit sales of smartphones. (The one big exception is Brazil; see below for more detail.)
Somewhat surprisingly, given the amount of great press that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) gets, it also declined in terms of smartphone sales in almost every market surveyed, except for Spain, where it grew its share of sales by a mere 1.2 percent to 6.2 percent of sales. In other markets it variously accounted for between 2.3 percent of all smartphone sales (Brazil) to 30.1 percent (Australia).
RIM (NSDQ: RIMM), meanwhile, saw a mixed bag of results, growing a bit in every market except for the U.S. and Australia. Great Britain appears to currently be RIM’s strongest market in terms of percentage of smartphone sales: it accounted for 22.9 percent of all of them in the last 12-week period.
Kantar also broke out some specific numbers for the smartphone market in different regions.
U.S.: In Android’s strongest market (66.4 percent of all sales), HTC is currently the biggest Android brand, accounting for 39.8 percent of all sales (compared to 32.2 percent a year ago). But as we saw with Samsung’s own results last week, it has seen very strong growth over last year. It now ranks second with 24 percent of the Android market, a huge amount of growth if you compare to to the 5.8 percent share it had a year ago.
Motorola (NYSE: MMI) saw the biggest Android decline, accounting for 19.8 percent of sales in the last 12 weeks compared to a share of 49.3 percent a year ago. Will be interesting to see whether Google’s purchase of Motorola will help turn that around, or whether Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has picked up an OEM in permanent decline.
Dominic Sunnebo told paidContent that one of Samsung’s strongest points is that it already has a huge base of non-smartphone Samsung customers in the U.S. — some 44 million users. “These guys have already bought into the brand, so to get them to upgrade to a Samsung Smartphone is considerably easier than attracting new customers from other brands,” he said. Motorola, he points out, also has a large base of non-Smartphone customers which they can try to upgrade, but “demographics play a part”: more than half of Samsung’s non-Smartphone consumers are under 45, compared to 34 percent for Motorola.
Great Britain: Smartphones, it said, made up nearly 70 percent (69.1 percent) of all mobile sales in the last 12 weeks. It noted that now 43.8 percent of consumers in the region now own a smartphone, making it one of the highest-penetrated markets around.
What’s becoming more apparent is that within Android, there is an increasing amount of competition between OEMs. As with the U.S., in Great Brtain, HTC is currently the most popular Android maker, where it took 44.8 percent of all Android sales in the last 12 weeks. Samsung came in second with 37.9 percent of sales (a big rise compared to its share of 25.2 percent one year ago). Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC) looked to be the biggest loser here: it only accounted for 8.5 percent of Android sales, compared to a more respectable 20.5 percent for the same period in 2010.
While Android dominance looks like it is set to continue for some time — some 62 percent of Android users tend to buy Android devices again, says analyst Dominic Sunnebo — the big challenges will be for individual Android vendors to create products that stand out from those of their fellow Android OEMs, in addition to attracting consumers completely new to the platform or to smartphones altogether.
Brazil: Here, the story is quite different. As with other developing markets, Nokia (NYSE: NOK) is still playing a dominant role compared to its reduced market share in markets like the U.S. and Europe. In Brazil, Nokia took more than half (56.5 percent) of all smartphone sales in the last 12 weeks. Nokia now controls a 30.3 percent share of the smartphone market.
Android, in contrast, accounted for 19.3 percent of sales in the period, with the Samsung Galaxy 5 the most popular Android device.
There’s still a lot to play for, though: at the moment, smartphone account for six percent of all mobile ownership in Brazil, which has a population of 193 million. That means there is still time for all platforms to make an impression and grow.