Android is king of Holiday sales–except in US and Japan

Android owners and fans! I have good news and bad news.

First, the good news…Android topped all smartphones sold during the Holiday sales period.

Now, the bad…that doesn’t include the US and Japan, where Android’s numbers are behind Apple. While the iPhone’s sales increased slightly over last year, sales of Android smartphones actually dipped slightly.

This information comes to us from

The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel Comtech for the 12 weeks to December 23, 2012, show that Android maintained a stronghold in Britain, Germany, France, most European countries and Australia, with more than 50 percent of the market share, and up to 86 percent in spaces such as Spain. Android also has a 72.5 percent majority in the urban Chinese market.

However, in the U.S. and in Japan, it’s Apple’s iPhone that has more than 50 percent of the market, according to the study. In the U.S., Android’s share declined slightly to 44.2 percent, while iOS jumped year-on-year to 51.2 percent, a 6.3 percent increase. In Japan iOS has even more of the market at 66.2 percent, while Android has just over a third.

Even in countries where Android leads–like Great Britain–Apple is right behind:

Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said Android’s rate of growth in the past year is beginning to slow down, as the number of first-time smartphone buyers is on the decline. “Among the handset manufacturers, Samsung has held on to the number one spot in Britain, claiming 35 percent of smartphone sales, although Apple is now biting at its heels with 32 percent,” Sunnebo added. Overall, Samsung accounted for 43 percent of phone sales in Europe and 27 percent in the U.S.

The other players in the mobile market, BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion and Microsoft, are still at the bottom of the charts, but one of them is making progress. Windows Phone is growing in Europe, particularly in Britain and Italy, with shares hitting 5.9 percent and 13.9 percent, respectively, up from just 2.2 percent and 2.8 percent a year ago.

Sunnebo explained: “It has been far slower than Microsoft would have liked, but Windows Phone is now starting to gain respectable shares in a number of key European countries. However, its performance in the Chinese and U.S. markets remains underwhelming. As the two largest smartphone markets in the world, these remain key challenges for Microsoft to overcome during 2013.”

This is usually the time when most tech writers will tell you what they think the reasons are for whatever information found within the story is going to surprise you. When they get paid to write about stuff they’re supposed to know a lot about, they’re called pundits.

One thing you hear a lot about–over and over, it seems–is that Android users don’t spend money on apps like iPhone users do (and many thing that spending money–even 99 cents–on a smartphone app is crazy). Part of this reason is 1) statistics have shown that Android users don’t use their phones for all the things that users of others do. For example, they talk and text, browse the Internet and send/receive email; 2) In many cases, Android apps are crappier than their iPhone and Windows counterparts.

This isn’t new ground–this article goes into more depth, just in case you thought I was making all that stuff up.

The point is, Android sells more phones than Apple most places, mostly because there’s many many more models of Android to pick from. Apple might not control market share in those same places, but their profit margin is much greater.

Perhaps that sales trend is starting to reverse a bit.


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