Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's latest smartphone OS shares have been revealed, showing that in the three months ending March 2018, "competition within Android continued to intensify as Huawei and Xiaomi expanded their global presence".
Meanwhile, iOS share has held steady across the big five markets in Europe, the US and Australia, in contrast to continuing growth in urban China.
Dominic Sunnebo, global director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said: “With Huawei’s entry to the US market effectively blocked by the government, the business has increased the focus and resources it is aiming at Europe.
"Most encouraging for Huawei are the signs that progress is finally being made in the UK, with share rising to 5.9% – it needs to conquer this market if it’s going to realise its ambition of becoming a premium choice for consumers.”
The top three brands in the big five European markets, Samsung, Apple and Huawei, made up 71% of smartphone sales in the latest quarter, but Kantar tells us "newcomer Xiaomi has quietly taken fourth spot, with a 4.4% share. This is made all the more impressive given that growth has come predominantly from just two markets, Spain and Italy".
Sunnebo continued, “Despite being a household name in China and India, Xiaomi has turned its attention to Europe late, though it has quickly proven to be a worthy opponent.
"In Asia, Xiaomi’s business model has been focused online and while this remains an important factor in its European model it is local partnerships with key players like Media Markt, Media World and Carrefour that has allowed it to accelerate sales so quickly.”
In Australia, Tamsin Timpson, the Strategic Insight Director for Worldpanel ComTech APAC, said: "iOS share increases in the 3 m/e March 2018 to 40.6%, up from 39.1% in the 3 m/e March 2017.
"The iPhone 8, iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus are ranked 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively behind Samsung’s Galaxy S8. Whilst the iPhone X share has grown since the Q4 17 period to 7.6%, the iPhone 8 share peaked in Dec 17 with a share of 12.1% and has now dropped back to 9.4%.
"Android share falls from 59.8% in 2017 to 57.7% in the latest 3 months. Samsung share declines slightly on a year ago from 35.1% to 34.4%, although experiences a strong uplift on share from the previous Q4 17 period (where Apple share peaked at 46%) with the Galaxy S8 the top-selling smartphone with a share of 11%.
"Samsung’s performance varies by price tier, where share has been under pressure at the low end but has increased in both the high ($600-$900) and premium ($900+) tiers.
"Whilst early days for the new flagship Galaxy S9 and S9+ devices, sales are strong, so far, attracting a young female customer, who is influenced by advocacy and exclusive promotions. In addition to the core features such as the screen clarity, camera quality and processor speed, consumers have chosen these premium devices for their wireless charging, expandable memory and waterproof capability".
Timpson continued: "Interestingly, a new trend within Android has emerged this period, whereby the established global brands have clawed back some much-needed share, largely driven by Sony and Motorola, with Sony now taking 4th place behind Huawei with its Xperia XZ Premium driving share in the high tier.
"Having seen consistent growth over the last few quarters, the C-brands as a group experience some decline year on year (from 13.4% to 10%), with Huawei, ZTE and Alcatel mirroring this trend. An exception, however, is Oppo, whose share increases by 1ppt year on year to 3.2%, placing the brand in 5th position in total smartphone".
Article continues below image, please read on – an OS market share chart is at the end of the article.
Meanwhile, over in the US, Kantar tells us that "Apple and Samsung have managed to eke out year-on-year share gains, up 0.1% and 1.4% respectively. Google has achieved its highest ever quarterly sales share of 3.4%, up from 1.7% a year earlier, thanks to the success of its Pixel line. ZTE, also under pressure from the US government, saw its sales share fall to 2.5% in the latest quarter".
"In the US and the European top five markets, iPhone 8 sold in marginally higher numbers than the flagship iPhone X, indicating that as early iPhone X demand is fulfilled the price difference between the two devices is playing a notable role in consumers’ choices.
"In urban China, iPhone X continues to be not only Apple’s top performing model but the best-selling model in the market, helping Apple share to increase strongly to 22.1%."