Delayed release of iPhone X hurts Apple’s market share in Europe, U.S.: Kantar

iPhone X, 3D sensors
Problems with OLED screens and the facial-recognition feature reportedly delayed the release of the iPhone X. (Apple)

The delayed release of the iPhone X dented Apple’s share of the smartphone market in some key regions, according to fresh data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Component shortages led to constrained stocks of Apple’s high-end smartphone when it launched a few weeks ago, and the company encouraged customers to show up early when it went on sale at retail outlets on its first day. Apple reportedly was forced to deal with defects stemming from the bonding process for OLED screens, and the facial-recognition feature also proved difficult during assembly.

Those delays—presumably coupled with lagging demand for the iPhone 8 by users anxious to pick up Apple's latest phone—enabled Android to increase its market share by 4.3% in the five biggest European markets, 8.2% in the United States and 7.5% in Japan during the three months ending October 2017. Apple's market share in China managed to creep up .5%, however.

“It was somewhat inevitable that Apple would see volume share fall once we had a full comparative month of sales taking into account the non-flagship iPhone 8 vs. the flagship iPhone 7 from 2016,” said Dominic Sunnebo, Kantar’s lobal business unit director, in a press release. “This decrease is significant and puts pressure on the iPhone X to perform. Considering the complete overhaul that the iPhone X offers, consumers may be postponing their purchase decisions until they can test the iPhone X and decide whether the higher price, compared to the iPhone 8, is worth the premium to them.”

Apple appears well-positioned to regain some lost ground in Europe and the United States, though, as more units of the iPhone X come to market, according to Sunnebo.

“As of October 2017, 35.3% of Apple’s installed base customers across Europe and the USA had owned their iPhones for more than two years—up from 30.1% a year earlier and signifying considerable pent-up demand within Apple’s base. In pure value terms, it is likely the iPhone X average selling price will more than make up for a dip in sales of older iPhone models,” Sunnebo said.