This was bound to happen eventually, considering it has 4 times the population of US, but China has finally surpassed US as the country with the most Android smartphones. A third of Android devices are now being sold in China, while only 11% of them are being sold in US.
What does this show us? It shows that while US is a big market on its own, smartphone manufacturers can’t ignore the rest of the world (like Motorola has done, for example) and they especially can’t ignore China. China has seen an explosive growth over the past year, growing 85%, which is higher than any other country. Android smartphones exceeded 50% of sales in the first half of 2012, and over two thirds for the whole year. And it looks like it will surpass an even bigger share for the whole of next year, as Android has already reached 90% last quarter.
How are the iPhone and WP phones doing then? Not so well. The iPhone had 5% market share this year in China, and WP only 1%, and it’s looking to get an extra 1% in 2013. Also analysts anticipate that iPhone sales in US will drop in 2013 to 34 million, from 35.5 million in 2012, while Android will consolidate its market share at around 50% (in US).
The iPhone had a strong momentum in US, considering it was launched there, and it also benefited from many millions of people being loyal fans of Apple because of the Mac and iPod. So it looks like Android will have to settle on “only” 50% of the market in US, with the iPhone take 30%-35% or so. Globally, I expect Android to consolidate around 70%-80%, with around 85%-90% in the poor (and also huge) markets such as China, India and Africa, where the low-priced Android smartphones will make a huge difference.
But this is market share in the smartphone market. It’s easy to forget that there are still many more “dumbphones” out there, however, Android is looking to capture 50% of the whole handset market by 2015. The handset market is 6 billion units in total right now, so that would mean Android will eventually be on 3 billion devices, making it by far the most used and popular operating system, with twice as much market share as the whole Windows ecosystem.