Android increases global share, but its most popular OEM stagnates

by: Mark WilsonJanuary 28, 2014

Android 4.4 KitKat logo - aa

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.

  • Dr Tashique Alam

    well its about time samsung stagnates, maybe this will force them to make better quality products instead of plastics bogged down with bloatware

    • namesib

      What’s wrong with the quality? Or are you one of those people who think anything that isn’t made out of metal is bad? I consider a several-hundred-pound (the currency) metal device with no expandable storage or replaceable battery to be a far worse deal than a several-hundred-pound plastic device with those features. If it costs as much as a laptop it at least needs some flexibility in its hardware offerings. Most people I see use a case anyway.

      I’m not bothered by their software either. I like that they offer a range of unique features, although I do believe that non-essential software should be easily uninstalled without rooting like user apps.

      • AssToast

        If hes talking about the entry level/mid range products then the quality is shit, ill have to disagree with plastics though

      • MasterMuffin

        I agree so much with the quality part!

    • dandroid13

      This is what made them successful, they don’t need to change their looks desperately every year like HTCrap does because, obviously, it doesn’t work.

  • namesib

    I hope this (coupled with the imminent parity in app income) encourages more devs to stop making iOS exclusives and prioritising them for new releases.

  • dogulas

    Nothing wrong with this. It was never good that Samsung was so dominant. Hopefully over time there will be someone else making android handsets at their level.

    • Shark Bait

      I agree , the gap between Samsung and other android OEM’s was becoming to large. I don’t think Samsung will fall from top spot for a long time but other catching up is good news for every one ( except maybe Samsung shareholders)

    • T.J.

      I don’t think it’ll be as long as you think. Motorola made quite a comeback last year. I wouldn’t be surprised if they top HTC or even LG this year – in North America, at least.

  • Jayfeather787

    Android for the win!!!!

  • mustbepbs

    I guess iOS is no longer cool.

    • T.J.

      When has it ever been cool?

  • joser116

    Windows is closing in on iOS and has even surpassed it in some countries. The Android army must change its targets.

    • dspencer2015

      Only in Latin America and Italy. Lol iOS is easy ahead especially in the big markets like China and the US

      • joser116

        Yeah, I did say closing in on or even surpassed in some.

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    Love that everywhere I see iOS I see a minus.

  • deepen915

    of course Samsung would be down.. there was no mainstream flagship phone released in the last quarter like Apple.. The Note 3 is a premium, non-mainstream device. Just wait til the S5 launches in March-April. Those sales numbers and market share numbers will go up a lot. Hard to compare Apple when they were selling a new device.

    • AbbyZFresh

      The Note 3 is a non-mainstream device?

      Really huh?

  • Arturo Raygoza

    and the vultures start circulating

  • Brendon Brown

    22% jump in Latin America .. Nice !