It's official (again): Samsung and Android dominate smartphone sales. In a report released today, the research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech has confirmed the dominance of Samsung and Android in both the USA and the five major European markets.
Android: 7, Apple: 2 (almost)
In the three months to May 2013 Apple's traditional stronghold. Apple holds 17.8% of the European market and 41.9% in the US.
The figures, available below, show data for smartphone OS sales across the five major European markets: Germany, Great Britain, France, Spain and Italy, as well as for the USA, Australia, the emergent market of Mexico and the world's biggest smartphone market, China. Android is the clear front-runner in all of them.
The developing markets of Mexico and China will also continue to provide valuable future markets for Android smartphones. Considering the focus of Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie on providing better services for lower-end devices, and Google X's Project Loon to bring internet to rural and remote areas and other traditional smartphone dead spots, and we have another market winner.
An Unfair Fight?
While Android outperforms Apple iOS in every market, it must be noted that putting one handset up against the entire range of Android devices is hardly a fair fight. I'm thinking here of the burly brawl scene from The Matrix Reloaded. But in this version of the brawl it seems Apple just can't win for sheer volume of Android numbers.
And as Tech Crunch have wisely observed, ''It’s not clear from Kantar’s figures whether these are all official Android builds, or whether this figure also accounts for forked devices, which will not work with Google’s wider ecosystem of products like its app store, billing services, and advertising.''
A pure comparison of sales data from Apple iOS and 'pure' Android phones would be more realistic, but any of these these figures should always be taken with a pinch of salt as we will always be comparing Apple with oranges (one phone to many). Apple also continues to make much more money than Android in the app store and still has a much stronger loyalty rating than Samsung (79% versus 59% in Great Britain) so it all depends on what figures you believe are the most important.
Trouble on the Horizon
Despite the glowing figures, the report also mentions a dark cloud on the horizon for Samsung, stating that “The flagship Xperia Z has driven Sony’s growth in Britain by successfully appealing to Samsung customers. Some 38% of Xperia’s users are ex-Samsung owners, the majority of whom have upgraded from the Galaxy S2“.
The Kantar report goes on to state, ''With the competition dramatically upping their game in terms of build quality and content innovation, Samsung will have to work hard to convince its 8.8 million customers to stick with the brand''.
So while these figures may be exciting news for Samsung owners and Android fans, the naysayers will be quick to break them down to the point where they will mean nothing at all. There is also an obvious disparity between the quality of Apple's flagship phone and the whole gamut of barely-worth-the-title Android smartphones out there (that make up a large part of these figures).
With this in mind it's certainly hard to put much faith in any kind of predictive potential or see these numbers as anything more than a reflection of a pretty flawed comparison. If we ever get oranges and oranges comparisons, or a differently defined brawl, Apple would undoubtedly come out on top in many rounds, so make of these figures what you will.
Do you own a Samsung smartphone? Do you think it's fair to compare Apple and Android in this way?