iPhone clearly not dead yet as Android growth stalls

by: Gary SimsMarch 19, 2013

android-statcounter-feb2013Once in a while a brave soul is needed to stand in the firing line, report the facts and hope he survives! This time it is me. According to recent web browsing data Android’s worldwide market share remained flat at 36.9% while Apple’s iOS grew from 23.26%, in December, to 27.21% in February.

Although all the top Android handset manufacturers are announcing new phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S4; the Sony Xperia Z; and the HTC One, these phones have yet to make it into the hands of consumers. The result is that Android’s market share has remained the same during February and has failed to continue its climb since the holiday season.

While Apple is still a little while away from announcing the next generation of iPhone, the Cupertino company has seen a steady growth of iOS users since Christmas, and all the way through January and into February.

Honing in on some local markets, iOS is still the top dog in the USA with 51.95% of the market share, up just over 1% since December. While Android has actually decreased in the same period and now has 38.2% of the market. In Europe the situation is slightly different with Android dominating the field, with a 45.21% market share and iOS coming in second at 39.81%. However both operating systems have seen about the same amount of growth since December 2012 in that geographic.

The real change has been in Asia. Android grew rapidly during the holidays but since has remained flat at 34.63% of the market share, but Apple has managed to boost iOS sales by nearly 2%. But that still means that in Asia iOS is the fourth most popular mobile OS, with just a little over 10% of the market, behind Series 40 and Symbian.

It is likely that this will change when the various recently announced phones finally start to get into consumer’s hands. So expect to see Android fight back over the next few months. Apple however won’t be sleeping and is sure to keep on fighting with the next iPhone.

These are the facts, so please don’t shoot the messenger!

  • Jacob Brown

    How dare you report facts that aren’t in favor of Android!!! :P I do agree with you though. No new handsets on Android since December. It’s about to blow up again when the HTC One and SIV actually hit shelves.

    • Dexter Lanning

      My thoughts exactly, we’re all waiting for new devices while Apple’s next device won’t be announced for quite some time yet. This year it seems like everyone is hitting the market within the same 3 month period though, April-June (HTC, Samsung, Motorola, LG and Sony), in the United States at least.

  • It would be nice to mention what Statcounter measer – sales, shipments, web usage and for which Region. Otherwise this article is quite meningless

    • StatCounter measures website traffic globally using a different number of criteria including which mobile devices are being used when a website is accessed from a phone. In the article I mention the worldwide stats and then the stats for different regions. Does that help?

      • kascollet

        Are the numbers only about phones or do they include tablets as well ?
        It’s a very important nuance I think.

  • RarestName

    Seems like every few weeks there are articles talking about web browsing statistics.

  • I hate this method of Phones companies…

    They create expectations for the launch with information leaks.

    Then make the announcement date of presentation of the product.

    Then all we have to wait another two or three months after the presentation for the product to arrive in stores.

    I wish they made the presentation of the product only when stocks were supplied, and the stores were ready to begin sales in the next week.

  • Users as wells as developers prefer Apple’s closed, walled off garden versus Android’s open weeds

    • That is a strong comment, I am a user and a developer and I might not agree with you… Can you substantiate that???

      • I too am a user and budding developer and I also prefer Android.

      • http://blogs-images.forbes.com/chuckjones/files/2012/12/IDC-developer-preferences.png

        Regardless of how you feel about iOS or Android. Typically developers prefer iOS because of the consistency of the development environment and ease of monetization (of course this has changed as developers have found new ways to monetize including advertisements and micro-transactions). iOS users overwhelming tend to spend more money on the App store than Android. These are just the facts. I work with a lot of developers and know a lot of mobile developers who do cross platform work and the overwhelming majority of people I meet prefer iOS development. They do Android development because it is still a huge market they can not ignore.

        • Mike Reid


          And as an Android only dev and Android fan, I don’t want to see Android completely dominate the smartphone or tablet markets.

          Competition is good, and iPhone/iOS suits some people.

  • I honestly fail to see how Web usage translates directly to market share. I barely browse the Web with my phone. My wife browses the Web even less with her phone. How is this an accurate way to determine market share?

    • If it is reported in percentages rather than raw numbers it is accurate if we assume that the same number of people (approximately) don’t surf web on each OS.

      In other words, for every user like you (and your wife) there are corresponding users who doesn’t surf the web on the other OS (iOS or Android, depending on what you use).

      • Except that iOS users and Android users tend to use their devices for different purposes. At least that is the trend that I have seen in my work environment.

        • kascollet

          What do you mean by “different purposes” ?
          There aren’t 50 ways to use a smartphone.

          • Not sure where the number 50 came from, but I will name a few different purposes in broad terms. Some use their smartphone for gaming, some for multimedia, some for Web content, and some for productivity. Obviously those that use their device primarily for Web content will have a bigger impact on these statistics. Not to insult anyone, but in my experience iOS users are less tech savvy and aren’t as informed on what all that pocket computer they have can do. The people that I support at work using iOS devices barely use apps and mostly use their smartphones for Web content and basic phone functionality. The Android users that I support generally have many more apps installed and use their phones for far more than Web browsing. That is what I mean by “different purposes”.

      • Noah

        iOS is more used in the States, Android in Europe where the data fees are much higher. Besides the system is different, and people use them differently.

        For all we know they might browse on different websites and introduce yet another bias. Finally, there is no notion of _when_ the devices that are hitting websites were bought. Are they from this year? From 3 years ago? Have people changed their habits since then?

        One has to be very careful when using web statistics, naming that “market share” is wishful thinking from StatCounter IMHO.

        Not long ago there were more reliable statistics on your website, based on the number of sold units. Maybe you could find that back and do the comparison, it could be interesting!

    • carlisimo

      It’s all we’ve got. Apple reports sales, but a lot of Android manufacturers don’t.

  • hoggleboggle

    the data is rather unreliable as it relies on the browser and OS reporting in properly, something a lot of mobile browsers like Chrome and Dolphin don’t do as they report themselves as Desktop or even iOS devices. iOS safari results also appear in desktop browsers for example. Look at the Desktop vs Mobile search results – virtually stagnant which seems highly unlikely. What seems more feasible is that a lot of mobile devices with high res screens are reported as desktop systems, thereby clouding the results.

    • Marvin Nakajima

      Hmm.. So you’re saying that it’s possible that some of the ‘hits’ claimed to be iOS might actually be Android browsers in disguise. :D

      • hoggleboggle

        quite possible, particularly when you have a look at the range of screen resolutions, where the percentage of the typical and fairly unique iPhone 4/4s screen res is virtually stagnant.

  • Guy De Vos

    Yet another report based on User Agent strings. Invalid.

  • Sal

    Well yes there hasn’t been new devices since December but once HTC, Sony, Samsung start shelving those stores with killer devices, Android will increase again but for now… sigh Apple beats us.