Arrested development: while the iPhone lagged, Android sales boomed in the last year

by: Bogdan PetrovanApril 26, 2013

android vs apple

Market share estimations from IDC and Strategy Analytics show that, while the top four Android smartphone makers posted massive sales increases, Apple’s growth was mediocre.

In the last 24 hours, two of the largest and most respected market research firms, Strategy Analytics and IDC, have posted their smartphone shipments estimations for the first quarter of 2013.








The two firms came to similar results, although their statistics are slightly different:

Shipments (millions of units)SA Q1 2013SAQ1 2012IDCQ1 2013IDCQ1 2012






























Before we continue, let’s note that these figures are based on actual information from the companies (the case of Apple and LG) or on estimates (the case of Samsung).

What do these figures tell us? Let’s break it down.

  • Samsung is king of the hill, and doesn’t look like it plans to vacate the throne any time soon. Samsung sold more smartphones than the Apple, LG, Huawei, and ZTE combined. Moreover, the company’s growth year over the year is impressive.
  • Apple recorded a modest growth of 6.6 percent year over year. If we were talking about a different industry, that growth would have been reasonably satisfactory. But when the industry as a whole is growing 36 percent annually, 6.6 percent is worrying.
  • LG managed to double its shipments, propelled by the success of devices like the Nexus 4 and LG Optimus G. While still far from threatening Apple’s second position, LG has took big strides in rebranding itself as a first tier smartphone maker.
  • Huawei and ZTE also almost doubled their shipments and displaced from the top five better-known players like Nokia and HTC. While still not a firsthand presence in the West, the two Chinese giants are slowly making a name for themselves in the high-end smartphone market.
  • The Others category lumps together names as diverse as Nokia, HTC, BlackBerry, Sony or Motorola, not to mention the myriad of smaller phone makers and the no-name devices sold by the boatload in emerging markets. While this category grew over the past year, it did so at a moderate pace, suggesting that the market is consolidating around the top players.

The biggest takeaway from these statistics is the disparity between the growth of iOS and Android. This disparity is one of the reasons Apple’s stock lost so much of its value since the iPhone 5 was announced. Apple is rumored to introduce a new low cost iPhone model to better compete against Android, but judging from Tim Cook’s recent statements, the new device could be launched as late as this fall.

That would give the Android army even more time to solidify its position. Google’s operating system is still growing in most markets, with the notable exception of the US, where Apple is eroding Android’s leadership.

  • Apple already has their older phones which can be used as the cheaper models, and in the US where it’s subsidized, that’s already happening which is why there profit tanked $2.1 billion last quarter. They need to get into the larger screen market where they have absolutely zero foothold. Anyone wanting such a phone has to go another route by default. Dumb move on their part.

    • apploholics

      Maybe it was stupid to insist on small displays when display sizes had exploded long before that, but it was a small risk to take when looking at history, Apple fans has always defended apples unreasonable decisions like it was their daughters virginity or something more valuable than that even, its hard to say why it seems to have failed this time. I believe the scratched and dented back covers have more to do with it (though also that was vigorously defended by apple users as not being a problem at all)

      I remember well that apple users said 3.5 inch and 480×320 was perfect and that noone would ever need more, phones like Nexus One and N900 was according to Apple users hopeless with their 800×480 resolution, we had to understand that it was not optimal at all and who would want a phone with that resolution, how stupid we were, could we not 480×320 at 3.5 inch was so perfect that it would last forever?

      Isnt that a good example of how Apple users will defend the worst shortcomings you can imagine? Everyone could see that HVGA was so painfully inferior to 800×480 displays, yet they were willing to kill us to prove their point

      • apploholics

        When it comes to apple fans we are dealing with people who find enormous “advantages” and “innovation” in shortcomings, restrictions and limitations. Common sense and reason has no place in their arguments, therefor its also hard to use common sense to understand their buying patterns. One likely explanation for iphones weak growth could be that the world is running out of idiots.

        • Darktanone

          Yankee Group says that just nine percent of iPhone owners “plan to switch to another platform with their next phone purchase, while 24 percent of Android owners plan to defect from the Android platform.” And 18 percent of Android owners plan to switch to the iPhone, specifically…That means that nearly three times as many Android owners plan to abandon their phone platform, compared to iPhone. Ouch! Idiots on every platform, huh?

          • and it was also reported that 50% of iphone users in China were thinking of switching to Android. So in one of the large iphone markets they are losing traction big time.

          • Marvin Nakajima

            You realize that those surveys are usually done on a rather ‘small’ sample and based on a single moment in time with no consideration for any new improvements in either camp.. Not too reliable. Though if you mean only in the US it may hold some water for the short few months after a new iPhone is released. (Though recently it seems the ‘older’ model seems to sell better than the ‘new’ one for the first few months due to lowered pricing). If you read your business magazines, you may see recent articles claiming more businesses being open to Android devices due the improvements over the last few OS versions.

    • john doe

      but steve jobs said anything bigger than 3.5″ will fail. he also said the 7″ tablet will be D.O.A. maybe he not so smart after all.

      • APai

        oh, he was very opinionated. he was on the money about a few things though.

  • kirk ngo

    Samsung will be number 1 from now on. Apple will go down even futher this year. I’m pretty sure HTC will replace Apple in number 2 spot. Apple is DONE. They will have nothing until the Fall which won;t help at all.

    • I see Samsung being the biggest innovator. They have a vast range of screen sizes on their assortment of devices. Samsung’s has many plus advantages/advancements..One being the freedom of Andriod as an OS. Apple is and has been so inclusive that they keep shooting themselves in the foot over and over.

      • kirk ngo

        i totally agree ! Apple is doomed forever.

    • Darktanone

      Thats pure emotion talking. Where, exactly, is Android winning in the battle against Apple’s iOS devices, the popular iPhone and iPad? Two words: Market share. Not revenue, not profits, not customers who spend money in the forest of Apple’s ecosystem.
      In fact, on every other front except one, Apple is demolishing Android, despite being outsold in unit market share. That too is changing, as IPhones have outsold Android devices in the US for the last few quarters and has eroded it’s lead.

      How does Android fare against this laundry list of important measures?
      Apple has managed to capture almost 75-percent of the entire cellphone industry’s profits, leaving the rest to desperate Samsung (which spends nearly 10 times Apple on advertising and promotions).

      The rest of the Android nation is starving, including Google itself. Wait. Isn’t Google planning to make money with mobile advertising? That’s the company’s strong suit, right?

      Nearly 70-percent of mobile ad revenue is generated by iOS devices. That’s a two-to-one lead over Android devices, despite Android having three times the market share. What’s going on?

      It’s usage. It’s ecosystem. It’s quality vs. mediocrity.

      It’s been pointed out that 90-percent of mobile e-commerce revenue comes from iPhone and iPad; not Android devices. That indicates that iOS users actually use their devices in a substantially different way than Android users.

      Over 80-percent of mobile gaming revenue comes from iOS devices. Web usage by iOS devices is more than triple that of Android devices which triple iOS devices in total numbers. Almost 70-percent of mobile ad viewing is done on iOS devices, not on Android devices.

      iOS developer revenue is estimated to be four times that of Android developers. The numbers are worse for Android in tablets, where iPad dominates with higher web usage, higher ecommerce usage, and higher tablet activations in business.

      How can all of this be true while Android dominates in unit market share? Apple’s iOS devices and the Apple ecosystem dominate usage, one of the true measures of winning.

      Wait. The headlines indicate otherwise, right? After all, the Wall Street Journal described a feverish hype for a non-Apple device, the Samsung Galaxy S4. The hype seems to be confined to the Wall Street Journal. A more in-depth analysis reveals that whatever hype there is about Samsung vs. Apple, Samsung’s Galaxy is being outsold by iPhone.

      Here’s the reality. Apple is dominating Android in all the areas that matter; from usage to revenue to profit to developer revenue to ecommerce to advertising; iPhone and iPad.

      What’s happening in the headlines today is no different than what Apple has experienced through the entirety of the 21st century. The Mac is dead. Windows Music Store will destroy the iPod and iTunes. Apple needs a netbook. The iPhone is a flash in the pan. The list of wrong assumptions and predictions is long.

      Outside of the number of Android devices being sold (or, distributed, hopefully to be sold later), and the number of Android device models vs. iOS devices, where, exactly is Android winning? Numbers don’t lie.

      The fact is this. In every other measure Apple’s iOS device is destroying the Android empire. Other than Samsung, which appears content to copy Apple devices at the atomic level, and spend 10 times what Apple spends on advertising and promotion to achieve lower revenue and profits, all other smart phone manufacturers and industry players are losing money by the billions.

      • asdf

        Garbage, Android growth is way higher than ios’s. Come back on here at the end of 2013, and lets see how stupid you feel for talking like this.

        • kirk ngo

          Thank you and as for the dosh who doesn’t know shit about Android growing OS. Do your research before talking like a smart ass even though you know nothing kid.

          • asdf

            ummm do your research, all statistics show that Android is only the rise and ios is pleateauing(with the exception of usa), weak minded reatard

          • asdf

            sorry thought you were talki ng to me

          • kirk ngo

            okay dude whose side are you on?. you do know i was rooting for your comment toward the guy right?

        • Darktanone

          Deal. iPhone will continue to outsell Android devices in the US in 2013 and eventually take the lead in market share.

          • kirk ngo

            Wow dude u must live in a fantasy world.

          • Darktanone

            Not a fantasy. The numbers just aren’t in Android’s favor. Check out this article. Though it might be hard, read it all the way through:

          • kirk ngo

            wow dude you actually believe in analyst? They are always wrong. Have you not seen the mobile market share for the OSes? Android is number for a couple of reasons bud. 1) innovation 2) creativity 3) taking some risk now and than. They are probably so much more. Apple lost their magic since the 4S. Whoever is this anonymous is he/she is right.

          • Darktanone

            Not necessarily, but there are few respected ones out there that every now and then will hit the nail on the head. Android is the number one OS because a lot of cheap, stripped down Android handsets are purchased in developing nations.

          • The US isn’t the largest growing market though. Theres a big ass world outside your borders that seems to think Apple and IOS is out of date.

      • anonymous

        you are talking s**t

    • Doubt HTC is making any sort of comeback. Especially when some the One+ replaces the One in like 3 months

  • blairh

    Apple has nothing to worry about. The iPhone 5 is doing great for them. However they must introduce a 5″ iPhone next year. And they will. It’s obvious that they will lose sales this year to the S4 and HTC One on screen size alone. By playing it safe with the screen size they are conceeding sales to consumers who want a larger screen.

    They will need to release a phablet at some point too. Probably not happening until 2015.

    • Which is why I ditched Apple in favor of Google. Forget having to wait a year or two to get what I want.

    • Marvin Nakajima

      Nah, they’ll just add phone capabilities to their iPad mini and name it something else. It’s more likely than them coming up with something considered revolutionary at this point.

  • james sorsona

    Apple needs Steve Jobs back because they lost their magic.

  • APai

    apple’s reduced to copying the market now.

    they said 3.5inch is plenty, now they eat their words and get 4inch.
    they said 7inch tablets are dead on arrival, millions buy 7 inch tabs and apple releases their own mini tablet.

    they said their OS is perfect, they end up copying boatload of android features, and their original OS too had a ton of symbian features

  • Me thinks there are Apple blogger plants that scour the web to shoot down any bad publicity. Fact as presented at the beginning of the piece, Apple’s global market share of unit sales has dwindled, where Samsung last year sold more units than all the other smart phone companies COMBINED! Want further proof Apple is in trouble, just last week Apple made the largest stock buy back in its history! This is to cut off the possibility of massive stock sell offs come the 4th quarter of the year when full sales numbers become available, and the company could loose billions in stock holdings. Wake up Apple fans and US- The world is no longer based on the US. Apple has lost its innovation since Steven Job’s passing, and is turning into Microsoft, a bloated old goat day dreaming of the past. Tech advances move in months not years. If Apple does not stop dictating to the public, they will be the nothing more than a memory when people dump devices in the recycle bin.