Is Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) winning the smartphone sales battle but losing the market share war? According to a new report from market analyst company Kantar Worldpanel via CNET, Apple’s iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S models have given the California-based company a month-on-month sales boost, but its overall share of major markets is actually lower than it was last year.
For the three-month period ending in November 2013, Kantar Worldpanel found that Apple’s share of the U.S. smartphone market declined by 9.9 percent compared to last year. The iPhone maker also lost 6.5 percent market share across the European Union Five (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK). Despite including China in the iPhone launch event last year, Apple saw its share in the world’s largest smartphone market decline by 1.5 percent. Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform led in most markets, while Apple’s iOS took second place.
“While there’s no doubt that sales of the iPhone 5S and 5C have been strong, resurgent performances from LG, Sony (NYSE:SNE), and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) have made making year-on-year share gains increasingly challenging for Apple,” stated Kantar Worldpanel strategic insight director Dominic Sunnebo via CNET. “Windows Phone, for example, is now the third-largest OS across Europe with 10 percent — more than double its share compared with last year.”
Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows saw some significant gains in the European Union Five market compared to last year, climbing 5.3 percentage points. However, Windows Phone also continued to struggle in the U.S. where it only grew by 2.1 percent and saw no growth in China over last year.
Sunnebo noted the uphill battle that Microsoft faces for viable market share. “You don’t have to conquer China and the U.S. to win in the smartphone market, but you do need success in one of them,” noted Sunnebo via TechCrunch. “At the moment, there are few signs of progress in either country for Windows Phone and momentum needs to be made soon before OS loyalty severely limits the available market.”
Despite the overall decline in market share, Apple secured a 43.1 percent share of the U.S. market, an 18.1 percent share of the European Union Five market, and a 17 percent share of China’s market. Apple also continued to dominate Japan’s smartphone market with a 69.1 percent share.
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