iOS growth fueled by Android switchers in Europe

Apple’s iOS reached 20.3 percent share of the market for the first quarter of 2015 in Europe’s big five countries of Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, according to a new report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said that on average, in Europe, 32.4 percent of Apple’s new customers switched to iOS from Android. Across Europe, Android’s share declined 3.1 percent, but remains high at 68.4 percent market share.

It should come as no surprise that price was a big factor for those people who purchased an Android phone.

“Thirty-five percent of consumers who bought an Android smartphone in 1Q15 said their decision was driven by receiving a good price on the phone,” said Milanesi. “Another 29% said that getting a good deal on the tariff/contract was a factor in their purchase.”

In the US, Android has a 58.1 percent share of the market, but sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are doing very well.

“Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus already represent 18% of all iPhones in use in the U.S., and 64% of the iPhone installed base is an iPhone 5 or newer—good news for the Apple Watch that interacts only with these newer models.”

In China, the news couldn’t be much better for Apple:

“In urban China, Apple consolidated its leadership in smartphones, growing its share to 26.1%, up from 17.9% for the same period in 2014,” said Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia. “Thirty-eight percent of iPhone buyers were recommended an Apple device by someone they know, while 23% recall seeing an ad.”

Timpson also noted that China is now driving more volume for Apple than the U.S., as the Cupertino company reaches beyond the more affluent buyers. In 1Q15, Apple represented 25% of smartphone sales in urban China’s 2,000 to 4,000 RMBs income bracket—a 10.1 percentage point increase from the same period in 2014, according to Timpson.

US phablet market

Phablet sales in the US rose to 21 percent from 6 percent in the same period last year, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. The iPhone 6 Plus took 44 percent of this market, with a large number of people noting screen size as the main reason for the purchase.

Android customers made up 11.4 percent of Apple’s new customers, which is actually down a bit over last year. Only 5.9 percent of iOS users switched to Android during the same period.

Microsoft grew little around the world and was merely a footnote in the overall report. BlackBerry wasn’t mentioned at all, probably because nobody is sure if they’re still in business.

Clearly, the larger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were, and continue to be, big sellers for Apple around the world. Apple’s strategy in China has worked well for them and all indications are this is going to continue to be a growth market for the company.

One of the big factors in purchasing decisions is clearly price. Apple has never been a company to cater to a lower-end market with free give-aways or cheap products, and they shouldn’t start. There will always be a segment of the market that will take advantage of a two-for-one offer and that’s where Android phones will continue to sell. That doesn’t hurt Apple’s core business one bit.