A new report from global financial analysts, Kantar WorldPanel ComTech, has shown the Android operating system to be back in control of the UK smartphone market, after fending off a strong challenge from Apple over the Christmas period.
The figures showed 48.5% of smartphones sold during the 12-week period studied ran Android OS, as the proportion of smartphones in the total mobile sales market rose to 73.2%.
There are signs, however, that the smartphone market and in particular Android need to be mindful to threat of stagnancy. According to Kantar ComTech sales figures for android have been lingering between 45-50% for some time now; with little evidence that this will change.
In a further study in to the current smartphone market conducted by London-based mobile phone recyclers, Fonebank, the smartphone market appears to be in ferment, with less than half of those who bought a smartphone in the last 3 months upgrading from a traditional feature phone. Fonebank, one of the UK’s leading mobile phone trade-in companies, see 40,000 mobile phones a month pass through their doors and are alert to consumer trends. The study revealed that migration between different platforms within the smartphone market is on the increase, with just over 54% of UK smartphone owners switching brands in the last few months.
Android seems to be the popular choice for first time smartphone users, of which, there are dwindling numbers in the UK.
Fonebank Director Olly Tagg commented on the findings, ‘the bulk of the phones we see coming through the doors here at Fonebank are smartphones, the most popular handsets we receive are the iPhone 4 and the BlackBerry 8520. People are obviously now flitting between smartphone platforms and brands. We just don’t see many feature phones anymore – compare this with the same period last year and it’s clear; the mobile phone landscape has completely changed’ The division of customers switching brand within the smartphone market is fairly even, with Android just edging it ahead of iOS and RIM.
Tagg continued: ‘There is a strong flow toward Android from the feature phone crowd who are using smartphones for the first time. Android offers a wider selection of ‘entry-level’ handsets – perfect for those experiencing a smart device for the first time’.
Android benefitted hugely from Nokia’s doomed Symbian project – which has essentially disappeared from the marketplace – mopping up the spill of business as smartphone users looked for a new platform on which to pin their allegiance. With slimmer pickings now on offer in terms of new custom, Android will need to guard against users heads being turned by the obvious lure of Apple and the emergent Windows Phone.