Which smartphone platform dominates – Apple iOS or Google's Android – has always been the focus of many an argument between these two proud contenders. Many times it is hard to get at the truth – you read one place that tells you Android is ahead, but then another study will show that iOS is number one…the old saying from my accounting background is very true: "figures don't lie, but liars figure." Just like a good politician – a survey, writer, or article, can usually tell you whatever you want to hear…maybe with just a little old "white lie" weaved in there somewhere.
Our source explains that the gathering of smartphone information is done one of two ways – market share and usage share – and never shall the two meet…completely. Kantar supplied him with market share, which is the shipment of smartphones to a particular region and Statcounter provided him with the usage share, or browsing share, of smartphones actually being used. While larger market share can certainly lead to a larger installed base and consequently larger usage, that is only part of the answer.
Trends in usage may help level the playing field somewhat; however, usage may be skewed towards higher end devices whose owners can afford the money and time to use the internet more often. This would leave the lower end devices, namely Android, out of the usage figure, thusly registering a smaller usage, or browsing share. The graph above shows the worldwide usage of Android has been growing while the iOS (iPhone) has been decreasing – this makes sense since shipments of Android have been growing faster than the iPhone and more users of lower end smartphones have easier access to the internet.
Since we are in the U.S., I included that graph to show what is going on in the smartphone "economy." It was AT&T, that first sold the iPhone exclusively, that is now causing their downward trend in the market with their late 2013 introduction of unsubsidized plans. The market share of the iPhone was growing until December 2013, when it took an abrupt downward trend that is continuing today. When the new iPhone is released this fall, it will be interesting to revisit this chart. You can see that even the usage started to trend down at the beginning of the year as Android is on an upward trend. As a side-note, both charts show that Windows Phone is simply unable to penetrate the U.S. market.
We will quickly discuss some other areas of the world to see what is happening in the iPhone versus Android battle: Australia shows Android dominating the market share and in the usage department, iPhone is trending down, although still above Android, while Android is trending up. If this usage graph continues, sometime by the end of the year, Android will surpass iPhone to be the winner in both areas.
In Japan, the iPhone is above Android in both market and usage share, but the author points out that the pricing model that Japan uses and Apple's partnership with NTT DoCoMo help to give the iPhone a huge boost in their market.
The UK shows that Android is in the market share lead and continually growing, while the iPhone market share shows a slightly declining trend. Usage of both iPhone and Android remain rather stable with Android actually surpassing Apple in February 2014, then Apple spiked a bit, and both are stable once again.
In Germany, Android simply dominates both the market share and the usage share by a large margin. This 'takeover' occurred in mid-2012 and Android has never looked back. In France, Android holds a dominant market share over the iPhone and in January 2014 Android took over the usage share as well, and is trending upward while the iPhone is trending down. In Spain, Android dominates in both markets, as the iPhone is barely a blip on the market share and is in a continual downward trend in usage. The same with China as the market and usage share are dominated by Android, although, both are trending up in usage. In Mexico, Android replaced BlackBerry, and is dominant over the iPhone in both market and usage share. In both Brazil and Argentina, Android dominants in all categories and continues to grow.
Things are looking very good for Android – worldwide they totally dominate iPhone, and in the U.S., Android is closing the gap on iPhone. Worldwide, there are just too many Android manufacturers as we look to both Korea and China making high end smartphones at very reasonable prices, while Apple continues its 'business as usual approach.' If you have any comments on iOS versus Android, please hook up with us on our Google+ Page…as always we love to hear from you.