Kantar: Windows Phone breaks 5% market share in Europe, making strong gains in UK and Italy

The full Kantar WorldPanel data for the twelve weeks ending December 23rd is now available, and it shows great traction for Windows Phone in Europe.

In Q4 2012 Windows Phone took 5.4% of the EU5 market for smartphones, which has a population about the same size as USA.  The OS continued to do well in Italy, but the real surprise has been that Windows Phone is finally seeing good growth in UK, a market where it has been lagging earlier.

Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, comments: “At the end of 2012 the global OS picture shows Android on top, but clearly the rate of growth it experienced over the past year is beginning to slow as easy wins from first time smartphone buyers begin to reduce.

“It has been far slower than Microsoft would have liked, but Windows Phone is now starting to gain respectable shares in a number of key European countries. However, its performance in the Chinese and US markets remains underwhelming. As the two largest smartphone markets in the world, these remain key challenges for Microsoft to overcome during 2013.”

In Britain and Italy shares hit 5.9% and 13.9% respectively – up from just 2.2% and 2.8% a year ago.

Sunnebo continues: “Among the handset manufacturers, Samsung has held onto the number one spot in Britain, claiming 35% of smartphone sales, although Apple is now biting at its heels with 32%. Nokia is experiencing something of a turnaround in Britain with its smartphone sales share at 6.2% and actual sales growing by over 50% compared with last year.”

It is of note that Blackberry, who has traditionally had a stronghold in UK, is finding Windows Phone nipping at its heels, with 6.4% market share vs 5.9%

Smartphone percentage penetration in Great Britain hit 61% in the latest period, 82% of all mobile phone sales over the past 12 weeks were smartphones.

Recent performance in China has been disappointing, with only 0.9% market share, but an influx of cheaper handsets should help this market grow also.

With numerous new markets and a doubling of market share in a growing smartphone market, I suspect we can expect equally good numbers from Gartner and IDC. Who says 10% in Q4 2013 is out of reach?