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Android gained 8 percentage points in US in the past year, mostly at iOS' expense

With the release of some smartphone OS market share numbers to the end of March this year, Android is up more than 8 percentage points from 2013 in the US. This brings Android to almost 60% US market share.
April 30, 2014
TechCrunch Global Chart

With the release of some smartphone OS market share numbers to the end of March this year, Android is up more than 8 percentage points from 2013 in the US. This brings Android to almost 60% US market share.

The exact numbers reported see Android up 8.3 percentage points over last year, to a total of 57.6% of the US market. This comes at the expense of all other measured OSs, with Apple being the hardest hit at a 7.8 percentage points drop in the same time period.

Despite the growth in the US market, and similar such growth in Italy and China, this is not a global trend – of all of the measured markets, Android saw a combined average growth of a mere 1.52 percentage points. Conversely, iOS also experienced growth in several markets, but with a global average loss of 0.1 percentage points.

Feel free to play around with the measures over at Kantar WorldPanel to get the full picture. Kantar offers information on a dozen markets around the globe. The folks over at TechCrunch built a handy chart consolidating ten measures from these markets, we’ve used this chart for some of our calculations as well.

TechCrunch Global Chart

The story takes a little curve when we look at the 1.76 percentage points . average global growth of an OS that many had counted out of the fight – Microsoft’s Windows. Despite reports that suggest Windows is stuttering, and the unfortunate abbreviation of a Nokia-Windows phone being No-Win, Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia is now complete and the two are ready to move forward. Nokia knows how to be the largest phone manufacturer on the planet and new leadership at Microsoft is rapidly making mobile a priority. With a strong 13.9% of the market in Italy, and several other markets encroaching on the 10% mark, Windows should not be counted out – the question remains, who’s market share will Microsoft cut into?

What about everyone’s favorite Canadian smartphone manufacturer? With losses in almost every market, we expect BlackBerry to be demoted into the “other” section next year. For these ten measures, BlackBerry holds just 0.8% average market share.

Factors we see working for Android in the coming year

Android is showing little sign of slowing growth, especially thanks to new affordable and extremely capable devices on the market, such as the Moto G, and higher-end units like the upcoming OnePlus One. Samsung continues to prove itself a selling juggernaut with its Q1 numbers and LG as well had a bit of good news announced recently. The affordability factor of the newer devices is opening many new markets for Android. We spoke of Android growing 8.3% in the US, but we did not mention it grew an amazing 19% in Mexico and 10%-12% in South America. It is these emerging markets that may make the difference in the next year.

Google and Facebook have both introduced initiatives to bring internet to the billions of people around the globe that currently do not have. The majority of these billions of people will need a new device to connect to this new internet, and an inexpensive Android device is as good as anything for many users. Apple may not have anything inexpensive in their line of devices, but Nokia/Windows certainly do. The Nokia X phone, which happens to be the only Nokia phone that runs Android, is what many would consider an entry level device with just 512MB of RAM and a dual core processor, but is not entirely different than many of Nokia’s Windows powered phones. At approximately $120, Nokia has a phone that has some room to sell.

I think the biggest factor that could see to Android experiencing any stalls in growth over the coming months, is Microsoft’s decision to open Windows for free for mobile devices under 9-inches. Eliminating the financial barrier has proved a success for Android. Microsoft does not have a large selection of available apps for their devices, especially as compared to Google Play, but nor did Android when it started out. From there, many of us are not eager to export our systems to Microsoft’s offerings, but the billions of new users around the globe that are not yet ingrained into another ecosystem won’t mind. Once you level that playing field, familiarity with the Microsoft brand, from years of world domination in the desktop computer market, may serve in Microsoft’s favor for new mobile users looking at phones. It is in Microsoft’s court to lose at this point, we’ll have to watch and see if they can steal customers away from Android.

Let me say it again for all of the Android ‘fan-boys’, Android is up and iOS is down in the US, but are you surprised? Do you think Microsoft is in any position to start cutting into Android’s market share?

(Update: Previously read 13.9% in France. Updated to 13.9% in Italy. Thanks Korben.)