Market research company Kantar Worldpanel published a report today that provides statistics on smartphone sales for the first three months of 2014. According to the report, Apple performed strongly during the quarter, with sales rebounding in Europe, Japan and Australia.
Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, comments: “Apple regained ground in the first quarter of 2014, primarily due to the strong performance of the iPhone 5S, growing its sales share in Europe, Japan and Australia. By contrast, Windows had a tough start to the year as a result of its entry-level Nokia models facing fierce competition from low-end Motorola, LG and Samsung Android smartphones.”
As seen from Kantar’s statistics, Apple’s largest growth in market share came from Japan, with the company registering an 8.6% increase from the year-ago quarter, bringing its market share to 57.6% as of March 2014. The significant boost in market share is presumably the result of Apple’s success in inking a deal with Japan’s largest carrier, NTT Docomo, last year to offer the iPhone in Japan.
Sunnebo continues: “Japan’s love affair with Apple shows no sign of fading. Even though the iPhone has now been available on Japan’s largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo, for a number of months Apple still accounts for more than 40% of sales on the network. The success of the iPhone is also filtering through to the iPad, with almost a quarter of Japanese iPhone owners also owning an iPad. With smartphone penetration in Japan lagging well behind Europe and the US, Japan will remain a key growth market for Apple.”
Besides Japan, Apple also registered increases of 3.4% and 2.0% in Great Britain and Australia respectively, bringing the company’s market share to 32.1% and 33.1% in the two countries. In contrast, Apple’s market share in the United States fell by 7.8% from the year-ago quarter, while Android booked an 8.3% increase during the same period.
Macrumors offered a possible explanation for Apple’s market share decline in the States, citing a previous report by Kantar Director Dominic Sunnebo:
However, Sunnebo noted in a prior Kantar report highlighting smartphone sales over the August-October 2013 period that customers in the U.S. generally react better to “full releases” like the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 than “incremental” updates such as the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c.
iOS also lags significantly behind Android in the EU5 (the big five European markets comprising UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain) with a 19.2% market share versus Android’s whopping 70.7%.
Apple is rumoured to be releasing its next-generation iPhone in two larger sizes this fall – 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch. Leaked internal documents during the ongoing Samsung-Apple patent trial revealed concern among Apple’s executives about the declining growth rate of the iPhone, with one of the reasons cited being consumers wanting phones with ‘larger screen sizes’.