Google’s Android has claimed almost half of the UK smartphone market for the 12 weeks ending 7 August 2011, according to the latest statistics from consumer analyst firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
Android now holds a 47.1% share of the UK smartphone market, followed by BlackBerry with 21.5% and Apple with 20.8%. Symbian trails behind in fourth place with 7.2%, while Windows Mobile 7 has 1.7%, Bada 0.8% and Windows Mobile 0.7%.
Compared with the same 12 weeks in 2010, the big winner is Android, which increased its market share by 24.2%. The biggest loser was Symbian, down 19.1% and Apple iOS, down 7.2%.
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech global consumer insight director Dominic Sunnebo said: ‘While smartphones are quickly becoming the norm there are still new sales opportunities for manufacturers that innovate in terms of design.
‘Smartphone design is in danger of becoming too standardised, with 90% of smartphones now using a candybar shape, compared with only 54% in 2009, and 62% including a touch-screen function. With a lack of design differentiation, big name brands have to work harder to convince consumers to choose their products over another’s.'
However, the study also highlighted concerns that networks may not be taking full advantage of the opportunities that the over-45s market currently presents for growth.
Sunnebo said: ‘With increasing competition in the market manufacturers need to find ways to stand out. One such way would be to target the over 45s. Our research shows that this market is a key area for growth, with 17 million people aged 45+ in Britain who still don’t own a smartphone, but these consumers want different things from their phone.
‘For example, 27% of over-45s chose their current handset for its ease of use, compared with only 12% of under-45s. Similarly, late converters gravitate towards physical keyboards and slider phones. If manufacturers can develop smartphones that attract this audience we are likely to see the market grow even further.’
Meanwhile, the study also revealed that 41% of the UK population now own a smartphone after this type of handset made up 68.5% of sales over the 12-week period.
Sunnebo added: ‘We are also now seeing that the type of software on a phone is influencing what handset a person buys. This has provided key opportunities for previously little-known manufacturers such as HTC and ZTE, who use popular operating systems. For example, 25% of consumers who purchased a ZTE smartphone claimed they did so because of the Android operating system.’