Apple and Google extend mobile lead

Apple and Google have extended their dominance in the mobile market to create an almost Europe-wide duopoly.

Apple and Google extend mobile lead

According to Kantar Worldpanel smartphone sales data, the two top firms have grown their share from 74.3% to 86.9% of the UK market from October 2011 to October 2012 – with Android continuing to lead with 54.2% and iOS grabbing 32.7%.

Ailing RIM slid more than 11% to 7.9%, while Symbian has all but disappeared. Windows Phone managed to double its share, grabbing 4.6% of the UK market.

A similar pattern arose across the five European countries measured – the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain – as well as in the US, where Android’s 16.6% slide was more than compensated for by iOS’s 25.7% leap.

That handed Google and Apple a 94.8% share of the key market, leaving RIM and Windows fighting over scraps. The US is the only nation on the Kantar charts that favours Apple over Google, or that saw a slide in Android’s popularity.

“The majority of US iPhone 5 sales, 62%, have come from existing Apple owners upgrading to the new device, although Apple has also benefited from people switching from Android devices (13%), people switching from BlackBerry devices (6%) and a small number of first time smartphone owners,” Kantar noted.

Italy loves Windows Phone

Aside from the notable exception of the US, the Kantar stats revealed Android growth in every market – topped by a 31.1% leap in Brazil.

In Germany, three-quarters of smartphones sold feature Android, helped by strong Samsung sales. “Germany remains a tough market for Apple with its share falling by 5.1 percentage points over the past year,” said Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar. “The Samsung Galaxy S3 has taken almost a quarter of the country’s smartphone sales over the past 12 weeks to boost Android yet further.”

The data also revealed variations in other mobile preferences – for example, iOS has only 4% of Spanish smartphone sales, less than even Symbian.

Perhaps the most intriguing national difference is Italy’s love for Windows Phone, which Sunnebo pinned on strong sales of the latest Nokia Lumia handsets. Microsoft’s mobile OS has a 11.7% share in that country, its highest in the nine surveyed markets by some margin.

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