Figures released by Kantar confirm what many already suspected — that Android is still the most popular mobile platform around the world. At least this is the case in most markets for the three months to December 2013. In every region, Android retained its place at the top of the charts, even managing to make some gains. Growth was smallest in Spain at just 0.3 percentage points, but with Android occupying more than 85 percent, there was not much room for improvement anyway.
Android has a particularly strong following in parts of Europe as well as China, and large gains have been made in Italy and Latin America — jumps of 12 and 21.9 percentage points between 2012 and 2013 respectively. Even in the US, where iOS gives Android a run for its money, Google’s mobile operating system accounts for more than half of handsets, and its share increased year over year by 4.4 percent, compared to a loss of 5.8 for Apple’s operating system.
Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said: “Android finished 2013 strongly, showing year-on-year share growth across 12 major global markets including Europe, USA, Latin America, China and Japan. Apple has 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.”
But while the outlook for Android in general is positive, there is less impressive news for some handset manufacturers. In Europe’s top five markets, Samsung’s share of the market dropped by 2.2 percent, while in China, another hugely important market, the Korean firm stagnated. It’s too early to state that Samsung is on a negative trend, but clearly 2013 was the year when the company’s fulminant rise finally slowed.
In China, the largest smartphone market in the world, the rising star is Xiaomi. A company founded in 2010 that sells its products exclusively online, Xiaomi managed to leapfrog both Samsung and Apple to become the top smartphone seller in the country. It’s probably too early to give any credit to Hugo Barra, but it’s now obvious that the former Android leader made a good choice when he gave up Google for a largely obscure phone maker in China.