Newly released data from market analyst company Kantar Worldpanel showed that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) lost smartphone market share in most countries during the three-month period ending in December, while Android continued to dominate. However, Apple maintained significant market shares in some of the most important regions, despite its lack of growth.
“Android finished 2013 strongly, showing year-on-year share growth across 12 major global markets including Europe, USA, Latin America, China, and Japan,” wrote Kantar Worldpanel strategic insight director Dominic Sunnebo. “Apple has lost share in most countries compared with this time last year, but importantly it has held strong shares in key markets including 43.9 percent in USA, 29.9 percent in Great Britain and 19.0 percent in China.”
Despite Android’s overall growth, Kantar Worldpanel noted that Android smartphone maker Samsung (SSNLF.PK) is starting to come under “real pressure in most regions.” Samsung’s share of the European Union Five market (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK) dropped 2.2 percentage points to 40.3 percent in the last quarter of 2013, while its share of the expanding Chinese market remained flat at 23.7 percent.
Apple took second place in the European Union Five market with an 18.5 percent share, while Android boosted its share by 5.7 percentage points to end the year with a 68.6 percent share. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone OS finished with a 10.3 percent share.
“Windows Phone has now held double digit share across Europe for three consecutive months,” noted Sunnebo. “Unfortunately for Nokia (NYSE:NOK), the European smartphone market is only growing at 3 percent year on year so success in this market has not been enough to turn around its fortunes — reflected in its recent disappointing results. Its performance also deteriorated toward the end of 2013 in the important growth markets of China, USA, and Latin America.”
In China, Apple and Samsung were both outdone by homegrown low-end device makers like Xiaomi. “It’s no surprise that everyone is concentrating on high growth China, but currently local brands are proving clear winners,” wrote Kantar Worldpanel’s Sunnebo. “In December, Xiaomi overtook both Apple and Samsung to become the top selling smartphone in China — a truly remarkable achievement for a brand that was only started in 2010 and sells its device almost exclusively online. The combination of high spec devices, low prices and an ability to create unprecedented buzz through online and social platforms has proved an irresistible proposition for the Chinese.”
On the other hand, Japan remained a bright spot for Apple sales, where the iPhone continued to dominate Japan’s smartphone market. According to Kantar Worldpanel’s data, Apple took a 68.7 percent share of total smartphone sales in Japan for the three-month period ending in December. NTT DoCoMo (NYSE:DCM), Japan’s largest carrier, continued to reap the benefits of its deal with Apple. Apple’s share of NTT DoCoMo’s sales hit 58.1 percent last quarter.
Meanwhile Apple also held a 63.7 percent share at rival carrier KDDI, as well as a 91.7 percent share at longtime carrier partner SoftBank. As reported by Bloomberg, NTT DoCoMo data released earlier this month showed that it had surpassed KDDI and SoftBank for the highest number of new subscriber additions for the first time since December 2011.
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