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Android finished 2013 strongly, showing smartphone market share growth in major global markets.

Apple lost share in most countries compared with this time last year, but importantly it has held strong shares in key markets including 43.9% in USA, 29.9% in Great Britain and 19.0% in China. The Apple iPhone 5s was the top selling smartphone in Australia last quarter.

The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, for the three months to December 2013, shows that Android ended 2013 as the top OS across Europe with 68.6% share, while Apple held second place with 18.5%. Windows Phone continues to show high year-on-year growth, but its share of the European market has essentially remained flat at 10.3% for the past three months.

Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, comments: “Windows Phone has now held double digit share across Europe for three consecutive months. But unfortunately for Nokia the European smartphone market is only growing at 3% year on year, so success in this market has not been enough to turn around its fortunes – reflected in its recent disappointing results.

“Its performance also deteriorated toward the end of 2013 in the important growth markets of China, USA and Latin America.”

Sunnebo said that after years of accelerated growth, Samsung is now coming under real pressure in most regions, with European share down by 2.2 percentage points to 40.3%. In China its share ended the year flat at 23.7%.

“It’s no surprise that everyone is concentrating on high growth China, but currently local brands are proving clear winners. In December, Xiaomi overtook both Apple and Samsung to become the top selling smartphone in China – a truly remarkable achievement for a brand which was only started in 2010 and sells its device almost exclusively online.

“The combination of high spec devices, low prices and an ability to create unprecedented buzz through online and social platforms has proved an irresistible proposition for the Chinese.”

In Japan, consumers’ desire for all things Apple continued into the final quarter of 2013, with iOS taking a 68.7% share of smartphone sales. “Apple’s deal to sell iPhones through Japan’s largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo, has proved an unarguable success with Apple’s share on the carrier reaching 58.1% in the fourth quarter compared with 91.7% on Softbank and 63.7% on KDDI.”

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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