Kantar: Apple On Track For ‘Record Quarter’ As iPhone 6 Sales Bump Up Its Market Share Vs. Android

Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch:

Apple has been seeing its smartphone market share erode over the last several years as its simple-and-small line up of iPhones competed against model after model of low-priced, big-screened, fancy-featured Android-based handsets. But it looks like its latest iPhone 6 models — with their larger faces, 4G compatibility and Apple Pay support — may be helping it turn the tide a bit.

Lunden uses the latest figures — the last three months ending on October 31 — from Kantar Worldpanel. The figures show nine countries and year-over-year changes in the three-month (August, September, October) smartphone operating system sales share. The nine countries are: Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, U.S.A., China, Australia, and Japan, in no particular order. For instance in Great Britain, iOS gained 10.4% points from 29.1% in the Aug.-Sep.-Oct. period in 2013 to 39.5% in the same period in 2014. iOS showed gains in Australia too: 35.0% to 40.4% for a gain of 5.4% points.

Sounds good. But doesn’t the size of the market matter? For instance, a 1% point gain in China (about 1.4 billion in population) should be way more significant than a 1% point gain in Australia (about 24 million in population). So I did some math and added in the total population — for simplicity sake — for each country and then figured out how significant these percentage point changes reported by Kantar and TechCrunch really were. I understand that there are differences among the countries mentioned (wireless infrastructure: overall reach, LTE deployment, cost, monthly payments, discounts, etc., per capita income, smartphone penetration/saturation, smartphone replacement rate, and many other differences), but all I wanted to see was how the size of a country’s population impact these numbers that seem to point to Apple turning the tide. The results are quite interesting.

Android, in order of significance:

  • China: +4.8% points → +65.7 million
  • Japan: +11.9% → +15.1M
  • USA: +1.1% → +3.5M
  • Italy: +1.4% → +851K
  • France: +0.9% → +595K
  • Spain: -1.9% → -8834K
  • Australia: -4.1% → -971K
  • Great Britain: -2.3% → -1.5M
  • Germany: -2.6% → -2.1M

All nine countries combined the percentage points changes from 2013 to 2014 resulted in an addition of about 80 million Android users, primarily because of the relatively small 4.8% point change in China. Now let’s look at iOS, also in order of significance:

  • Great Britain: +10.4% points → +6.7 million
  • China: +0.2% → +2.7M
  • Germany: +3.1% → +2.5M
  • France: +3.7% → +2.4M
  • USA: +0.7% → +2.2M
  • Italy: +3.4% → +2.1M
  • Australia: +5.4% → +1.3M
  • Spain: +2.3% → +1.1M
  • Japan: -13.1% → -16.6M

All nine countries put together iOS added over 4.3M users, despite the relatively large (-13.1% point Y/Y) percentage point decrease in Japan. The percentage point decrease in Japan is quite significant (-16.6 million users) because Japan’s population is the third largest (almost 130 million) in this group, after China and the U.S.

Limiting our discussion to just these nine countries that Kantar profiled, Android added significantly (almost 19x more significant using our really simplified model) more users than iOS. So did iPhone 6 sales bump up the share of iOS versus Android? In Great Britain, yes. In China? No, because while iOS added 0.2% points (+2.7 million) Android added 4.8% points (+65.7 million). China is where it matters and Apple didn’t bump up its market share there. Japan? No. And in the nine countries as a group? Nope.