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Bill Bennett


Android hits 81% smartphone market share, Windows grows

IDC Research’s latest smartphone market share figures (Story now offline) make interesting reading. Android and Windows Phone are all up. While iOS, Blackberry and the rats and mice are down.

Android continues to dominate with an 81 percent share of new phone shipments. The OS is on four out of five smartphones sold. However IDC points out with the exception of Samsung, few of the Android brands manage to register meaningful market share – most account for less than one percent of all phone sales.

Apple’s iOS saw market share drop despite a sizable increase in the number of phones sold. IDC says this may reverse now the 5S and 5C models are on sale – the data is for the period before Apple announced the new models.

Perhaps the most interesting figure is the rise of Windows Phone, while still relatively small, it seems Microsoft and Nokia are finally getting traction.

Top four operating systems Q3 2013  

Operating System

3Q13 Shipment Volumes

3Q13 Market Share

3Q12 Shipment Volumes

3Q12 Market Share

Year on year change













Windows Phone



























17 thoughts on “Android hits 81% smartphone market share, Windows grows

  1. Unfortunately with IDC, “Shipment” is different for each product. Sometimes it’s filling the pipeline, sometimes actual sales, which is which this time? Not sure about your site, but mine has 11% iOS and 5% Android, and Comscore and others show similar differences. I know this relates to usage and not sales, but the headlines from IDC have been a long time strong on Android – somethings fishy.

        1. what is the share as a % of smartphone visits, and how many total unique smartphone visits did you have? (.2% 100 total visits would be statistically insignificant, for example)
          Many websites don’t have content that people want to consume on a smartphone. Those that do often have API’s and mobile apps so the raw browser stats wont show the real picture (and may even skew some smartphone stats higher if there is no app for the platform)

          1. I’m getting 22% mobile and 10% tablet – according to Google Analytics. I’d say that’s about right. Apple is top followed by Samsung then, interestingly, Nexus.

      1. I just thought of a factor in Android vs. iOS browser share; is the whole way people do things. People’s propensity to use different devices dependant on the other devices in their personal ecosystem.
        So for example, I have a laptop, and a desktop and an Android, the ease of use of my computing devices means I don’t use my phone for much browsing whereas someone who is mixed (Windows and iOS) or pure Apple might lean towards the iPad more (because it’s just easier to use the one paradigm)…

        1. That makes sense. I suspect also people who buy Android because it is cheaper are also going to spend less money on online data.

          1. The thing is, afaik even if you chop off the cheap should-be-called-featurephone market I’m pretty sure Android still ships more (we’re talking RRP $700+)

    1. I don’t think it’s that fishy, Android is on a lot of low-end, essentially useless or hard to use devices. It’s also on devices to what marketing departments would describe as ‘unegaged users’.

      As for ‘shipments’, individual vendors might stuff the pipeline in a quarter to make targets and so on, but these tend to iron out over time. In a sense, shipments is a leading indicator. I reckon the fact that everyone in the western world knew at least one new iPhone was coming might have made a big impact on the overall numbers.

  2. And how has Microsoft’s 15% market share claim stacked up in the months following that little snippet? Any more data?

  3. Its also worth mentioning that these figures relate to units sold, and NOT units owned/used. Thus, android devices could make up 80% of devices sold, but perhaps only be 50% of mobile devices OWNED.

    People who are looking at browser stats in an attempt to validate (or otherwise) the stats mentioned here need to realise that they’re just not comparing apples with apples in doing this…

    1. I doubt many readers make that confusion – it should be clear a month’s shipments numbers are quite different from installed numbers. But it is worth reminding ourselves what this actually means in practice.

      On the other hand, Android sales have outpaced iOS sales by a long way, for a number of years and handsets typically have a two year life span, so, all things being equal, you might reasonably expect Android browser activity to be higher than iOS.

      That is isn’t tells us all things are not equal. I’d like to see some better quality research shed light on why this is so.

      1. I disagree – I think a LOT of people assume that an 81% share of sales should equate to a roughly equal proportion of the install base. And even worse, that is should also equate to a similar proportion of “browser hits” for websites.

        Regardless, one factor that the sales numbers don’t match *could* be the fact that as you state, android is installed on a lot of low end phones – not as heavily used for browsing, cheaper build, so need replacing more often than a more expensive device, etc. So higher sales.

        Another factor is that with Android, it’s pretty much a maximum of 12 months between releases of top of the line android devices – in any given year you have a Nexus release, a nexus Tablet release, a Sony flagship release, an HTC flagship release, a Samsung flagship release, and so on.

        So you will have people jumping on the “new, shiny” bandwagon, sometimes more than once per year. Again increasing the Android “market share” in sales.

        To clarify, I’m a committed, long term Android owner, but I want to see more accurate OWNERSHIP stats, as these are more relevant to the community, in my opinion. Sales stats are great for the OEMs and their shareholders but I’m neither of those so I don’t really care 🙂

        1. I definitely agree with the idea that browser stats are not a decent proxy for install base numbers.

          One problem with ‘installed base’ numbers is there are devices sitting in desk drawers and cupboards that would count. There are at least two smartphones in my house in that category 🙂

          And, as you point out, no-one seems willing to pay researchers to figure out the numbers of actual devices in use.

          1. True enough, however. to an app developer, website owner, or service provider, a smartphone in a drawer (that DOES work) is at least still a potential “consumer” of their product – which means that total “install base” is more relevant for those parties at least.

      2. Better research is available within IDC’s own data, it is just not reported by IDC, see “IDC data shows 66% of Android’s 81% smartphone share are junk phones selling for $215” here: http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/11/12/idc-data-shows-66-of-androids-81-smartphone-share-are-junk-phones-selling-for-215

        Apparently the Samsung Galaxy Y is unable to update apps or example, not a lot of use to developers.

        Further data is available under the heading “In a meeting with its concerned investors on Wednesday, the head of Samsung Mobile revealed numbers illustrating that the company sold fewer high end smartphones than Apple this year, and that only about a third of the company’s total “smartphone” shipments are of a class really comparable to the iPhone.” http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/11/06/only-one-third-of-samsungs-smartphone-sales-are-in-the-class-of-apples-iphone-aapl

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