Apple Catches Fire in Q1 Sales

May 07, 2015
By: Tara Seals

The popularity of Apple (News - Alert) iOS in Europe's five largest countries continued to grow in the first quarter of the year, reaching a 20.3 percent share – 1.8 percentage points higher than in 2014. And China and the U.S. are driving big volumes for the iPhone (News - Alert)-making giant.

Europe's big five markets are Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech for 1Q15 shows that across Europe, Android’s (News - Alert) share declined by 3.1 percentage points compared to last year, to 68.4 percent.

“In the first quarter of 2015, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus continued to attract consumers across Europe, including users who previously owned an Android smartphone,” reported Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “On average, across Europe's big five countries during the first quarter, 32.4 percent of Apple’s new customers switched to iOS from Android.”

Cost is certainly a driver when it comes to smartphone choice. Notably, in Great Britain, while 25.6 percent of new iOS buyers switched from Android during the quarter, Android’s leadership remains strong, thanks to the price options consumers have in both the contract and prepay market. Thirty-five percent of consumers who bought an Android smartphone in 1Q15 said their decision was driven by receiving a good price on the phone. Another 29 percent said that getting a good deal on the tariff/contract was a factor in their purchase.

Image via Shutterstock

As for other markets, in the U.S., Android reached a market share of 58.1 percent — a 0.2 percentage gain over 1Q14. LG had a particularly good first quarter with its share growing to 10.8 percent from 7.4 percent a year ago, while Samsung (News - Alert) held on to second place as it prepared for the launch of its new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in April.

Milanesi added, “Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus already represent 18 percent of all iPhones in use in the U.S., and 64 percent of the iPhone installed base is an iPhone 5 or newer — good news for the Apple Watch that interacts only with these newer models.”

In Asia, Apple consolidated its leadership in urban China, growing its smartphone share to 26.1 percent, up from 17.9 percent for the same period in 2014.

“Thirty-eight percent of iPhone buyers were recommended an Apple device by someone they know, while 23 percent recall seeing an ad,” said Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia. 

China is now driving more volume for Apple than the U.S., as the Cupertino company reaches beyond the more affluent buyers. In 1Q15, Apple represented 25 percent of smartphone sales in urban China's 2,000 to 4,000 RMBs income bracket — a 10.1-percentage point increase from the same period in 2014.

And what of Windows Phone? A week after the Microsoft (News - Alert) developer conference kicked off, it is notable that Windows' market share has grown little during the past year in the U.S. and the EU big five — with the exception of France where market share grew to 14.1 percent in 1Q15.

“If we dig a little deeper,” Milanesi added, “it is easy to see the strong value proposition that the Lumia portfolio offers, as Windows phone sales in the U.S. skew towards the prepay market (20 percent) and installment plans (51 percent). Microsoft is betting that new Windows 10 functions and the ability for developers to easily port Android apps to Windows will make the Windows ecosystem more appealing.”




Edited by Dominick Sorrentino