Windows Phone is continuing to make inroads into the European smartphone market, according to the latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, for the three months to September 2013. Kantar’s data shows that Microsoft’s mobile OS now makes up one in 10 smartphone sales across the five major European markets (Germany, the U.K., France, Italy and Spain).
Despite that upward trajectory, Google’s Android platform remains the dominant OS across Europe with a 71.9% marketshare — up 4.2 percentage points compared with the same period last year, according to Kantar’s data. Windows Phone mostly appears to be taking share from BlackBerry. Dips in iOS marketshare evident in the data can largely be explained by seasonality, according to Kantar, with buyers holding off for the new iPhones — and sales of the iPhone 5s and 5c at the end of September not yet making up for the earlier lull.
“The full impact of the new iPhones will be seen at Christmas when iOS is expected to bounce back strongly in Britain, the US and Australia,” said Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, in a statement.
Returning to Microsoft’s mobile OS, Windows Phone is doing especially well in Italy where it’s overtaken iOS, taking 13.7% market share vs 10.2% for iOS. However it’s growing at a faster rate in the U.K. and Germany, rising 7.2 percentage points and six percentage points respectively, year-on-year, to take an 11.4% and 8.5% marketshare in each nation in the three months to September.
Beyond Europe, Windows Phone is doing poorly in China, where it shed two percentage points year-on-year for the three months ending September — to dwindle to just 2.5% marketshare.
Elsewhere, it’s seeing some gains. Small gains in the U.S., where it added 1.9 percentage points to take a 4.6% share vs 57.3% for Android and 35.9% for iOS, and a 1.3 percentage point increase in Latin America (Brazil, Mexico and Argentina), to take a 5.8% marketshare.
Its best performance outside Europe was in Australia, where it added 4.7 percentage points — to approach a tenth (9.3%) of the market.
In LatAm, Kantar said Microsoft has an opportunity to capitalise on the brand strength of Nokia (its principle OEM and a mobile maker that will soon be owned by Microsoft). Kantar notes that the majority of consumers in the region still own a Nokia featurephone — paving the way for an upgrade to an entry level Lumia, such as the budget Lumia 520.
Nokia’s brand strength in Europe also likely underpins Windows Phone’s regional gains — underlining the importance of the Finnish mobile maker to Microsoft as it seeks to establish Windows Phone as a viable third ecosystem, and explaining why Redmond feels the need to spend $7.17 billion on acquiring Nokia’s devices & services division.
Returning to China, Kantar said the region is increasingly dominated by Android — which now accounts for 81.1% of the market, up 14.6 percentage points on the same period last year. The market is also increasingly domestic in flavour, with Chinese handset makers making up 44% of the smartphone sales in the period vs 30% the previous year.
Kantar notes that Huawei, Xiaomi, Lenovo and Coolpad handsets are particularly popular outside of China’s largest cities, offering better value for money than global brands.