Windows Phone has certainly had its share of people journalists and analysts laughing at it, and has had to fight pretty hard for shelf-space and mind-share, but it seems, looking at recent European market share numbers, that we are beginning to win, and a number of articles have popped up recently predicting Windows Phone will be overtaking the iPhone soon, indicating that journalists are starting to believe in the success of the OS.
Sam Mattera from the Motley Fool writes:
Despite recent, rapid growth, Microsoft‘s Windows Phone platform remains solidly behind Apple‘s iPhone and Google‘s Android in global market share. Microsoft understands it has a hard road ahead, and doesn’t believe it can emerge as the dominant mobile operating system provider anytime soon. Still, when the company announced its intention to acquire Nokia‘s handset business, it argued that it could overtake Apple in terms of global popularity by 2018.
While that may have once seemed unlikely, Apple’s slow market-share slide, combined with Nokia’s low-cost handsets and new phablets, are exactly what Microsoft needs to take second place.
In the third quarter, Microsoft’s Windows Phone saw year-over-year shipment growth of 156%, according to IDC. That’s an impressive figure. Most of that growth has come in Europe, where Windows Phone is finally starting to take a sizable chunk of the market. Microsoft’s mobile platform still has just 3.6% of the world market, but in Europe’s five biggest economies (Britain, Spain, Italy, France, and Germany), its share is more than 10%. If that growth continues to accelerate, it could begin to attract more developer support.
But the real opportunity for Windows Phone is in emerging markets, where billions of customers remain unserved. Worldwide, more than 75% of consumers still haven’t made the jump to a smartphone, giving Microsoft a great opportunity.
Microsoft could surge past Apple in global market share by staking out a claim on the next billion smartphone adopters. Apple has steadfastly refused to release a true low-cost iPhone, preferring instead to continue production on older models. But Microsoft and Nokia have begun to aggressively target the low end of the market. Two of Nokia’s Lumias, in addition to its Asha lineup, will be key.
The smartphone market has been characterized as a two-horse race, and to a large extent, it is. Combined, Android and Apple’s iOS account for more than 93% of the total market, with Microsoft’s Windows Phone remaining solidly in third place.
But with Windows Phone’s rapid growth, and Microsoft and Nokia’s willingness to aggressively target emerging market consumers with budget handsets, I expect Microsoft’s platform to eventually overtake Apple’s iOS when it comes to global market share.
Preston Gralla from Computerworld writes:
Windows Phone sales are skyrocketing in Europe says a recent survey, with more than a 50% lead over the iPhone in Italy, and nearly pulling even in France. If its growth continues, it could overtake the iPhone in Europe by next year. Is that in the cards?
The latest report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech has plenty of good news for Windows Phone. In Italy Windows PHone has a 16.1% market share to the iPhone’s 10.1%. A year ago, Windows Phone was well behind in Italy, with 11.7% market share to the iPhone’s 18.5%. Meanwhile in France, Windows Phone is coming close to pulling even, with a 12.5% market share to the iPhone’s 15.9% market share. A year ago, Windows Phone was well behind, with a 5.1% market share to the iPhone’s 19.5% market share. In Spain, Windows Phone has pulled even with the iPhone. Each has a 4.3% market share.
The news isn’t as good in Great Britain and Germay, where the iPhone still dominates Windows Phone. But in both countries, iPhone market share has been dropping, and Windows Phone’s market share has been growing. In Germany, the iPhone beats Windows Phone by 13.8% to 6.3%, compared to the iPhone’s lead of 15.4% to 2.3% a year ago. In Great Britain, the iPhone beats Windows Phone by 28.7% to 11.9%, compared to 32.7% to 4.6% a year ago.
Overall, in the five biggest European Union countries, the iPhone beats Windows Phone by 15.8% to 10.2%. That sounds like a solid lead, until you look at the market share of a year ago, when the iPhone had a 20.8% market share to Windows Phone’s 4.8% market share. If the same trend continues, in a year Windows Phone will beat the iPhone in those countries, and potentially by a substantial margin.
So will Windows Phone overtake the iPhone in Europe by the end of next year? It may come close, but given the iPhone 5C, I’m not sure Windows Phone will beat the iPhone in market share by that time. But Apple will be fighting in an unaccustomed market market — bargain hunters — something it has so far avoided. And it will be battling Nokia, which has long done well with bargain-hunters with its previous phones. So don’t be surprised if eventually Windows Phone beats the iPhone in Europe.
Kantar Worldpanel has its new survey up, and there is one particular aspect of the August-October period that pops up. In those European markets where Windows is making its biggest market share gains, Apple’s iPhone is losing a lot more share than in those markets where Windows gains are muted. Google’s Android camp is not losing share in any of the European markets – Windows gains seem to be a specific problem for the iPhone.
The two EU markets where Windows made its biggest YoY market share leaps were UK (+7.3%) and France (+7.4%). In these markets, iPhone lost share by -4.0% and -3.6%, respectively. On the other hand, in Germany and Spain, Windows gained just 4.0% and 2.0% of share. The iPhone lost just -1.6% of share in Germany and it gained +1.1% of share in Spain. Android vendors gained share in all of these markets.
This is fairly interesting, because the main driver of Windows market share gains in Europe has clearly been Nokia’s super cheap Lumia 500 series, which now makes up more than 30% of all Windows phone users in certain EU markets. You would expect cheap Lumias to compete specifically against cheap Androids in the under-200 euro price bracket.
One explanation to the fascinating Euro trend is that smartphone demand may be shifting so rapidly to the cheapest price category that it boosts both Android and Windows camps, since they both have vendors focusing aggressively on budget models. This trend may accelerate during November and December, when handset demand shifts towards low-end models in predominantly Christian countries.
The budget Lumia models may be hitting the sweet spot of European phone demand so effectively that it will substantially undermine iPhone’s market share in the continent. Kantar’s numbers seem to indicate that if current trends persist, Windows smartphone market share will pass iOS in core EU markets by next summer.
Sure, at the moment it is just a scattering of such articles, and it took real success to change the opinions of the media, but there is no doubt that the tide is turning for Windows Phone and soon instead of the media hindering Windows Phone adoption it will actually start helping it with positive articles such as above.
Do our readers agree? Let us know below.