Windows Phone grew more than 400% in UK in 2012: Retailers report strong reaction to new WP8 handsets, better than expected sales

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UK retailers are reporting that British consumers are reacting strongly to new Windows Phone handsets.

MobileToday.co.uk notes that sales of the new generation of Windows Phones were higher than the last and that retailers and operators alike report a better than anticipated start to sales of Microsoft’s latest phone operating system from both HTC and Nokia.

The improved sales has been to the degree that companies like HTC and Nokia have been reporting shortages of their new Windows Phone 8 smartphones.

Phil Roberson, HTC UK and Ireland executive director, said: ‘We did have some stock shortages early on. We were seeing that demand was exceeding supply. As we go into the New Year, I am optimistic we will be able to start to meet all the demand.  We are really pleased about how Windows Phone is going and we have high hopes for it in 2013.’

Nokia’s shortage woes have been well documented and a spokesman told  Mobiletoday  it was ‘happy’ with the Lumia portfolio’s performance.

MobileToday attributes the improved sales to improved marketing, with a campaign worth about £25m running in the UK. Microsoft is expected to launch a fresh advertising campaign this spring as it looks to build further momentum.

A major reason for the shortages have however been OEMs managing their inventory very cautiously.

Francisco Jeronimo, research manager at IDC said: ‘It’s no surprise demand is high, but you need to be careful in reading the numbers. It’s not as if HTC or Nokia is bringing Samsung or Apple levels of devices to market. It’s extremely important not to overproduce. It’s much better to manage higher demand than leave too many unsold handsets in a warehouse. That would not generate confidence among operators. Even if they sacrifice some sales it’s much better because operators will show confidence in the OS.’

He added that confidence in the operating system will actually be bolstered by HTC running low on stock.

While he did not expect it to happen this year, he still expected Windows Phone to overtake iOS by 2016, second only to Android.

Jeronimo said: ‘The fourth quarter was extremely important and gave consumers the opportunity to see devices at point of sale and try them out. Microsoft is investing a lot of money to promote it and generate knowledge about the platform, but we are expecting a slow growth in the platform this year.’

While the IDC predicted slow growth it is interesting that Statcounter data actually pegs Windows Phone as the fastest growing OS in UK in 2012, by a long margin.

  iOS BlackBerry OS Android Windows Phone SymbianOS
 W2 2012  41.65  32.39  21.05  0.62  2.2
 W 2 2013  44.37  21.4  28.6  3.24  0.52
Growth (YoY) 7% -34% 36% 423% -76%

Over the year Windows Phone added more than 400% to their installed base, and currently has more than 3% of the online mobile users in the country.  iOS only managed to garner 7% YoY growth, while Blackberry lost 34% of their usage and Android gained 36%.

If Windows Phone can only manage to hit half of that growth, or 200%, in 2013, it should grow to around 10% of UK users and much larger retail market share. Pretty good for the OS some ex-Nokians claim no-one wants…

Thanks Arun for the tip.

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Site Admin and Windows Phone enthusiast, he has been using Windows Mobile devices since before they were called PocketPC™s. He is currently sporting a Nokia Lumia 930.