Apple's iOS sees market share plunge in China: Kantar

iPhone 7

Apple’s iOS lost significant ground in urban China in recent months even as it made some progress in its home market.

Fresh data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech indicates iOS powered 13.2% of smartphones sold in urban China during the three-month period ending in February 2017, marking a precipitous drop from the 22.1% it accounted for during the same period in the previous year. Android, meanwhile, ran on 86.4% of phones sold in urban China during that period, up from 77.1% a year ago.

“Android has achieved continuous growth in China since last February, with its strongest year-on-year gains coming in the three months ending February 2017, when its share rose 9.3 percentage points,” said Lauren Guenveur, Kantar’s consumer insight director, in a press release. “As we’ve seen in the past, this was due to a strong sales period around Chinese New Year, which is always a busy promotional season, particularly for local brands. Huawei, Oppo, Meizu, Vivo and 360 all posted year-on-year growth.”

Interestingly, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were the top-selling devices in urban China during that time, according to Kantar, accounting for 8% of all smartphone sales.

Apple’s mobile operating powered 42% of smartphones sold in the U.S. during those three months, though, up from 38.3% a year ago. Android saw its share of the U.S. smartphone market slide to 55.9% from 58.9%.

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were also the top-selling smartphones in the U.S., maintaining the lead Apple established late last year, while a combination of limited inventories and Verizon’s exclusivity have limited the traction of Google’s Pixel.

“Although Google Pixel was not expected to be a game-changer in its first iteration, there were hopes that it might soften the drop in Android sales that typically occurs around an iPhone launch,” Kantar noted. “Among U.S. consumers intending to purchase over the next 6 months, 23% indicate that they will consider a Google Pixel. But since its release, Pixel has not been able to surpass 2% of smartphone sales, in part because supply constraints have limited its availability.”

Finally, Microsoft’s Windows continued to circle the drain as Android and iOS cemented their dominance worldwide. The OS lost traction in nine of the 10 markets surveyed by Kantar including the U.S. (down from 2.6% to 1.7% year over year), China (from 0.3% to 0.2%) and the five leading European markets (from 5.9% to 3.3%). Windows gained ground only in Japan, where its market share rose from 0.5% to 1.3%.