A new study by Kantar Worldpanel Monday has shown that Android collectively has more than half of the market in key countries. Google has 50.6 percent across 12 countries that include Australia and the US as well as most major countries in Europe. Apple was still holding on, however, and had over 25 percent of European smartphones despite having just the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS to sell.
In the UK, the iPhone 4 has been the top-selling individual smartphone for the past year where Android's 49 percent in that country was split across many different manufacturers and models.
Many of the assumptions Android fans had about users switching from iPhones were false, Kantar's Global Consumer Insight director Dominic Sunnebo suggested in a report from just two weeks earlier. Of everyone buying an Android phone in the past three months, only 1.4 percent were moving from an iPhone. The vast majority, 74.3 percent, had never owned any kind of smartphone before. As such, the rest were likely converting from smartphone platforms known to be on the decline, such as BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile.
"We are yet to see any real signs of consumers switching between Android and [iPhone]," he said. "Our data shows that Apple and [Google] customers are intensely loyal when choosing their upgrade. One reason for this is the investment consumers make in their device through apps."
As evidence, Sunnebo noted that 17 percent of French iPhone owners download more than 10 apps every month. These owners would have to give up what might be a large investment in apps just to try a new platform where the apps wouldn't carry over.
RIM had a slight uptick in the more recent study, moving up a third of a point to 19.2 percent share. The defiance of an overall downward trend was once again credited to runaway BlackBerry Messenger use by younger owners: in the previous analysis, 70 percent of British BlackBerry owners under 24 had used BBM in the past month.
Windows Phone 7 was just a small player and had less than three percent on average in the 12 countries outside of Germany, where it represented seven percent. Nokia's Symbian dropped in every country, though in the previous study the declines had been kept relatively minimal, such as 3.9 percent in France.
Regardless of country, Kantar saw a tidal shift towards smartphones in the past three months. UK users were the most eager with 67 percent of their phone sales were smartphones. A lot of the adoption had to do with users getting their phones for free: 61 percent of British buyers agreed to a contract in return for the free hardware, while 44 percent of Australians did the same. American carriers are often hesitant to give smartphones away for free and don't change the device price depending on the plan like their overseas counterparts.
France, Italy, and Spain were all likely to continue the trend and sell mostly smartphones by the fall.