iPhone X Was One of the Top Three Best-Selling Smartphones in December 2017 Across Five Markets

Apple's iPhone X made it into the top three best-selling smartphones in December 2017 "across all key regions," according to new data tracked by Kantar Worldpanel. Specifically, Apple's new iPhone X climbed best-selling charts in Europe, Japan, Australia, the United States, and China, where it was the top selling model during the holiday season this year.


Although iOS market share fell 0.5 percentage points in the U.S. during the October to December 2017 period (down to 43.9 percent), the researchers noted that iOS loyalty "reached a new high of 96 percent." Ultimately, Kantar argued that Apple's staggered release of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X has been a "sound" strategy with multiple price points offering entry points for a wider variety of consumers and "boosting" Apple's smartphone OS share in these key markets.
“The full results for the last quarter of the year show that Apple’s decision to release three new handsets over a staggered period, including the ultra high-end iPhone X, has been a sound one. With Apple’s existing release structure, expectations would always be that the flagship model would be the top selling device in key developed markets, but with the premium price of iPhone X, real life affordability has come into play. Given that in December iPhone X made it into the top three best-selling devices across all key regions, particularly in urban China where it was the top selling model, the pricing strategy seems to have been vindicated.”
In total, Apple's piece of the global smartphone OS market saw a percentage point increase across six markets in the three months ending December 2017. iOS market share climbed 0.5 percentage points in Spain and Japan, 0.7 in Europe, 1.2 in Australia, 2.5 in Germany, and 10.1 in China. Apple's growth in China has "continued to impress" Kantar, with the iOS smartphone sales share in China growing from 24.3 percent in September-November to 28.6 percent in October-December 2017.


Besides Apple, Kantar also discussed Samsung and the Android OS market share, noting Android's losses in a few markets (down 10.1 percentage points in China amid Apple's rise). The researchers pointed out that these losses were "cushioned" to an extent by the "rapid fall of Windows," which has a share now of under 1 percent in every market tracked by Kantar except Italy (1.9 percent).

With today's report from Kantar, this marks the final time we'll see smartphone OS market share data only focused on months in 2017. It should be interesting to see how Apple and iOS perform following the 2017 holidays and into the new year, amid ongoing reports in recent weeks focused on "weakened demand" and lowered production volume for the iPhone X in Q1 2018.

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iPhone X Sales Were ‘Stellar’ in Several Countries During First Month of Availability

Kantar Worldpanel's newest smartphone OS data details the "stellar" performance of the iPhone X in multiple markets around the world during November, amid an overall "mixed performance" for iOS devices from September to November 2017. While Apple's piece of the smartphone ecosystem fell in Great Britain, the United States, Japan, and Australia, the company saw ongoing growth in urban China during this period.

Specifically, iOS dropped 3.8 percentage points in the U.S. when compared to the year-ago period, resulting in a total smartphone OS sales share of 39.8 percent. In the U.S., Android grew 4 percentage points to capture 59.4 percent of the smartphone OS market.


Kantar noted that in the U.S. the iPhone X was outsold by the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in November, coming in third and helping Apple capture the three top spots for the best-selling smartphone models that month. The researchers said that Apple "easily" beat Samsung's Galaxy S8, which landed at sixth place.

In China, Kantar said that iOS "continues to impress" with a growth of 4.6 percentage points from the previous year and sitting at 24.3 percent of the smartphone OS market in the country. At the same time, Android fell 4.6 percentage points, but it still owns 75.5 percent of the smartphone OS share in China.


Kantar Worldpanel global director Dominic Sunnebo explained that Apple's growth in China during this period was helped by "staggering" demand for the iPhone X, despite its high price tag, and came from users who were mostly switching sides from rival smartphone makers.
“Apple was riding on the back of some momentum before the iPhone X release but demand for latest model in urban China has been staggering given its price point.

“Apple is now back on form – the iPhone X was the top selling model in urban China in November, with a market share of 6.0%. Unlike in Europe and the US, where the vast majority of new early iPhone X sales came from existing Apple smartphone owners, in urban China there are significant numbers of Huawei, Xiaomi and Samsung customers switching to the new iPhone models, which they deem a cut above the rest.”
Despite an overall percentage point loss for Apple in Great Britain from September to November (down 4.2 points), Kantar said that for the month of November only, "Apple achieved its highest share in more than three years." The company reached 49.4 percent of the market in November thanks to iPhone X demand, beating out Samsung and "easily regaining" the number one sales spot for the month.

For most markets, Kantar wondered how long Apple will be able to keep its sales momentum going with the smartphone's high price tag. Numerous reports in recent weeks have discussed the same topic, with analysts predicting "weakened demand" in Q1 2018 now that early adopters have received their iPhone X.

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iOS Lost Market Share in Numerous Countries From August to October 2017 as People Waited for iPhone X

Apple's piece of the smartphone ecosystem market fell in eight total territories during the August-October 2017 timeframe, according to new data tracked by Kantar Worldpanel. Echoing numerous stories from earlier this fall that reported people were waiting for the iPhone X and not purchasing an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus, Kantar's data showed a 7.6 percentage point drop for iOS in the United States when compared to the same year-ago period.


That number was higher in Great Britain where iOS dropped 8.5 percentage points from 2016, and was followed by Japan (down 6.9 percentage points), Germany (down 1.6), France (down 0.6), Italy (down 0.5), and Australia (down 0.2). While iOS dropped 7.6 points in the U.S., Android increased by 8.2 percentage points during this time.

In the same three-month period ending October of last year, 30.1 percent of iOS users in Europe and the U.S. had owned their iPhones for more than two years. iPhone X excitement further affected this statistic as well, increasing to 35.3 percent in 2017 and "signifying considerable pent-up demand" for the iPhone X, according to Kantar.
“It was somewhat inevitable that Apple would see volume share fall once we had a full comparative month of sales taking into account the non-flagship iPhone 8 vs. the flagship iPhone 7 from 2016,” said Dominic Sunnebo, Global Business Unit Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “This decrease is significant and puts pressure on the iPhone X to perform. Considering the complete overhaul that the iPhone X offers, consumers may be postponing their purchase decisions until they can test the iPhone X and decide whether the higher price, compared to the iPhone 8, is worth the premium to them.”

“As of October 2017, 35.3% of Apple’s installed base customers across Europe and the USA had owned their iPhones for more than two years – up from 30.1% a year earlier and signifying considerable pent-up demand within Apple’s base. In pure value terms, it is likely the iPhone X average selling price will more than make up for a dip in sales of older iPhone models,” Sunnebo added.
While Apple saw a drop in most countries, iOS share grew slightly in China during this period with a 0.5 percentage point increase, suggesting that the company's ongoing efforts to expand its foothold in the Chinese market are paying off. Apple CEO Tim Cook furthered that sentiment during a keynote speech at China's annual state-run World Internet Conference over the weekend, where he said that Chinese developers have earned more selling apps on Apple's iOS platform than developers from any other country.


Now that the iPhone X has been out for a month, sales figures for the smartphone have been positive and Apple has continuously improved delivery dates for the device over the subsequent weeks. Research shared by IHS Markit earlier in December reported that early adoption rates for the iPhone X -- looking at its first three weeks on the market -- beat the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7 Plus during similar timeframes. According to TrendForce, this strong iPhone X demand will help push Apple ahead of Samsung in Q4 2017 to become the world's largest smartphone maker.

Related Roundups: iOS 11, iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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iOS Gained Market Share in Most Countries This Summer, Although Samsung Drove Gains for Android in UK

Apple's portion of the mobile ecosystem market increased in eight major territories in the three months ending August 2017, according to new data collected and shared by Kantar Worldpanel. Over the summer of 2017, iOS saw growth in the following territories compared to the same year-ago period: Spain (4.4 percentage point increase), followed by China (4.3), the United States (3.7), Germany (2.3), France (1.7), the European Union (1.2), Australia (0.9), and Italy (0.4).

Specifically, iOS grew from 31.3 to 35 percentage points year-over-year in the U.S., and although Android still dominates the U.S. smartphone OS market at 63.2 percentage points, it has dipped slightly from its hold of 66.1 percentage points in the same year-ago period. Dominic Sunnebo, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's Global Business Unit Director, said that "Apple maintained strong momentum in the US one month before the release of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus," so iOS should continue to see positive growth in future data that measures the holiday months.

Galaxy S8 compared with iPhone 8

However, Apple's iOS decreased slightly in the United Kingdom/Great Britain in the summer months this year. The drop in iOS market share is said to be due to Samsung's "significant" promotional activity for its Galaxy S8 and J3 smartphones eating into Apple's pre-iPhone 8 sales. In total, Apple devices running iOS accounted for 33.9 percentage points during this summer period in the UK, dropping 2 percentage points from 35.9 one year prior.

Although this was "offset slightly" by strong sales of the iPhone SE, Samsung itself saw a 6.4 percentage point increase in the June-August 2017 period in the UK. Overall, Android OS grew from 58.9 in 2016 to capture 65.3 percentage points in the three month period. Of course, once Apple's sales of new iPhones are accounted for in future data by Kantar Worldpanel, iOS should see a resurgence.

A few Galaxy S8 owners mentioned both promotional materials put out by Samsung and a "good deal" on the device as key factors to their purchases. At the time of its launch, Samsung said the S8 marked its "best ever" pre-order period for a smartphone.
“Samsung took full advantage of the weeks just before the iPhone 8 and iPhone X were released in Great Britain, with significant promotional activity that helped drive its overall share to a three-year high of 38.4% for the three months ending August 2017,” explained Dominic Sunnebo, Global Business Unit Director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “More than one in four Galaxy S8 buyers cited a specific promotion as a key purchase influencer, and almost half said that a good deal on the price of the phone was key to their purchase. Both of these metrics experienced a large increase over the last two months of the period.”
Otherwise, the only other regression centered in Japan and accounted for just 0.1 percentage points lost by iOS between 2016 and 2017.

Global smartphone OS shares data via Kantar Worldpanel

iOS market share is expected to see another boost thanks to the launch of the iPhone X, which has caused many people to put off ordering the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in anticipation of Apple's greatly redesigned smartphone. Pre-orders for the device go up two weeks from today on October 27, while the official launch date will come three weeks from today on November 3.

For more data on the global market shares of smartphone operating systems, check out Kantar Worldpanel's research right here.


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iOS Drops to Lowest Share of China Smartphone Market in Nearly Three Years

Apple's iOS has dropped to its lowest share of the smartphone market in urban China since July 2014, according to new data collected and shared by Kantar Worldpanel. Today's report specifically details smartphone shares around the world for the three months ending in February 2017. In total, devices running iOS dropped 8.9 percentage points from the same year-ago quarter, receding from 22.1 percent of the China market to 13.2 percent.

Apple rival Android remains the dominant force in China at 86.4 percent of the smartphone market in the country, growing 9.3 percentage points year-over-year. Although the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus remained the top selling devices in China, Apple has trouble competing with local vendors -- like Oppo and Vivo -- who produce cheaper smartphones at a massive rate that are far easier to obtain by the Chinese consumer.

"In the three-month period ending February 2017, iOS accounted for 13.2% of smartphone sales in urban China, a decline of 8.9 percentage points from 22.1% a year earlier. This marks iOS’ lowest share since the three-month period ending July 2014," reported Tamsin Timpson, Strategic Insight Director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia. "That said, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus remained the top selling devices in the region, accounting for 8% of smartphone sales. By comparison, iPhone 6s and 6s Plus accounted for 14% of smartphone sales in the three months ending February 2016."
Not much has changed for either iOS or Android in the United States since Kantar's last report, although the latter OS has continued to see a decline in market share throughout December, January, and February. Android has dropped three percentage points when compared to the same year-ago quarter, now accounting for 55.9 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, while iOS has grown by 3.7 percentage points year-over-year to take 42 percent of the market in the U.S.

As in China, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus remained the top-selling smartphones in the U.S., which the devices have been since Kantar's report on the three months ending November 2016. Kantar's analysts cited hope that Google Pixel "might soften the drop in Android sales" that happen annually around every iPhone launch -- and which dropped even more dramatically last year because of the Note7 -- but the Pixel doesn't appear to have picked up the slack for the Android market in the U.S.

In terms of overall growth, iOS saw its biggest percentage point increase in the quarter happen in Great Britain, growing 4.5 percentage points year-over-year. In most of Europe's big five markets -- Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain -- Apple has done well to boost sales of iOS devices, with France housing the biggest growth for the Apple operating system over the holidays. Outliers still remain, like Spain's 1.7 percentage point dip in today's report.

Kantar's report also looked forward to the rest of 2017, admitting that the three months ending in February is a "challenging time" to report on due to its awkward middle ground proximity between the holiday season last year, and upcoming announcements at events like WWDC in the summer.
“The February period is always a challenging time to report on consumer behaviour and plans, since many people put purchases on hold following the holidays, waiting for the latest phone announcements from Mobile World Congress,” Guenveur said. “The much-anticipated March 29 announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S8, combined with the somewhat unexpected launch of the (PRODUCT) RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and the capacity upgrade to iPhone SE a week before that, may mean that the remainder of Q1 and Q2 could yield some interesting, even unpredictable, shifts in the market.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook has remained vocal in his optimism about the company's presence -- and future -- in China, mentioning in an earnings call last year that, "We may not have the wind at our backs that we once did, but it's more stable than the common view of it." More recently, Cook went into even more detail about Apple's China plans, stating that, "We're not just someone who's here to access the market," and that the company intends to bolster its presence in the country through providing jobs and improving people's standard of living.

Related Roundup: iOS 10
Tags: China, Kantar Worldpanel

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iOS Grew to Capture 42% of U.S. Smartphone Market Over Holidays

From November 2016 through January 2017, iOS devices accounted for 42 percent of smartphone sales in the United States, growing 2.9 percentage points year-over-year thanks to iPhone sales over the holidays. According to new data released by Kantar Worldpanel, the same period saw a decline for Android smartphones, which still captured the largest share of the market at 56.4 percent in the United States, but was down 1.8 percentage points from the same three month period last year.

A similar growth for iOS and decline for Android -- likely due to the Note7 -- was noted by Kantar in a report focusing on OS market shares ahead of the holiday season. In today's findings, Kantar noted that as iOS and Android continue to battle it out in every market, "no other ecosystem is challenging the two giants." Some re-emerging brands catalyzed nostalgic spending for consumers -- including the Nokia 3310 and BlackBerry KEYone -- but their reliance on Android's OS instead of their own legacy OS helped boost Android's market shares.

Gone are the days when a BlackBerry OS, Symbian, or Windows Mobile could make a significant impact. It is clear that there will only be two smartphone ecosystems moving forward – iOS and Android. To succeed, phone manufacturers will have to play by those rulebooks.
Kantar noted that the iPhone 7 continues to be a top seller in large markets, particularly in Great Britain, France, and Germany. In total, iOS made gains across most regions excluding Japan, Spain, and China. In China specifically, iOS saw its largest year-over-year decline of 8.4 percentage points, knocking its market share down to 16.6 percent below Android's 83.2 percent. Kantar noted that while the iPhone 7 is the top-selling smartphone in China as well, increased competition from local vendors Oppo and Vivo contribute to Apple's continued yearly declines in the country.

iOS saw its biggest growth in the three months ending January 2017 in France, increasing 4.9 percentage points year-over-year to capture 24.2 of the smartphone OS market share in the country. In all of Europe's five big markets -- Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain -- iOS had a 22.7 percent market share, an increase of 2.4 percentage points from the same period last year. Like in the U.S., Android remains dominant in Europe at 74.3 percent of the smartphone market.

A redesigned "iPhone 8" will help boost Apple's share of the market when it launches later this year, although recent rumors suggest that the tenth anniversary iPhone might launch much later than more iterative 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch "iPhone 7s" devices in September. When it does, the all-new iPhone is predicted to include an edge-to-edge OLED display, lack a traditional Home Button, and potentially have wireless charging capabilities.


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iPhone Captured 31% of Smartphone Sales in the U.S. Ahead of Holiday Season

The iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 6s were the "three most popular smartphones" in the United States in the three month period ending November 2016, when users were purchasing early holiday gifts for friends and family members. According to new data collected by Kantar Worldpanel, the three Apple iPhones captured a total 31.3 percent of smartphone sales in the U.S., while Samsung accounted for 28.9 percent of smartphone sales during the three month period.

In the U.S., iOS grew 6.4 percent in the same three month period, rising to a 43.5 percent share of the market. Android dropped 5.1 percent, but still sits atop Apple with a 55.3 percent share of the market. As Kantar noted, the data marks the sixth consecutive decline for Android in the U.S.

kantar-smartphone-os-sales
Kantar's data shows that iOS made gains across most regions around the world in the same September to November period, despite a few losses in Germany and China. Apple's mobile operating system saw the biggest year-over-year increase in Great Britain, where it jumped 9.1 percent to account for 48.3 percent of the smartphone market in the country. Both Android and iOS increased their presence across France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Great Britain, "largely due to the decline of Windows," according to Kantar.
“In the EU5 countries, Android accounted for 72.4% of smartphone sales during this period, with iOS at 24.6%, a strong year-on-year uptick for both ecosystems as Windows’ share declined to 2.8%.

For Android, this represented a 2.8 percentage point decline from the October period, while strong sales of iPhone 7 boosted iOS,” explained Dominic Sunnebo, Business Unit Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe. “The holiday period is always strong for Apple, but it remains to be seen if demand for the latest devices will level out in the first quarter of 2017.”
Despite dropping 5.4 percent in China from the year-ago quarter, Kantar pointed out that iOS market share did in fact increase slightly (by 2.8 percent) from the previous three-month period thanks to the launch of the iPhone 7, which became the best-selling device in Urban China. "Local brands continued to dominate the market," according to Kantar analyst Tamsin Timpson, and Android accounts for a massive 79.9 percent of the smartphone market in the country in comparison to Apple's 19.9 percent presence.

Despite Apple's iOS growth in places like Australia, Japan, and even the U.S., recent reports surrounding the company's manufacturing partner Foxconn have pointed towards "lukewarm" demand for the iPhone 7 as a major cause for the assembler's first-ever profit decline. Apple reportedly shipped 207 million iPhones in 2016, down from 236 million in 2015, but many hope the company can turn around from its own revenue downturn with a profitable 2017 and a major redesign for the "iPhone 8."

Related Roundups: iPhone 7, iOS 10
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