Google’s Android has beaten rivals to claim almost half of the UK smartphones market, but a new battle is now emerging between manufacturers that use Android, new statistics have revealed.
According to the latest report from analyst Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, after securing its position as the number one OS across Europe, in the 12 weeks ending 2 October 2011, Android handsets claimed a 49.9% share of the UK smartphone market, followed by BlackBerry (22.5%) and Apple (18.5%).
The analyst claims the new battle is between Android handset manufacturers rather than manufacturers running rival operating systems. The key players, including HTC, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, are all vying to be recognised as the top Android manufacturer.
HTC has managed to maintain its UK share of the Android market over the year by claiming 44.8% of Android sales in the past 12 weeks.
However, Samsung is slowly picking up its pace and increased its Android market share to 37.9% from 25.2% a year ago after successful sales of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S II, and its Ace handsets.
Meanwhile, Sony Ericsson saw its share of Android sales slump to 8.5% from 20.5% last year under the pressure of the competition from the other major Android vendors.
Kantar Worldpanel global consumer insight director Dominic Sunnebo said: ‘With so many Android handsets now available, manufacturers need to work harder than ever to make their proposition stand out to consumers. HTC and Samsung have market-leading flagship products that offer something for everyone. Sony Ericsson, however, is still playing catch up. It will need to convince consumers that its products can equal those of HTC and Samsung.’
The data also revealed that smartphones made up 69.1% of sales over the 12 weeks, which means that a huge 43.8% of the UK population now own a smartphone.
Sunnebo added: ‘Over the next six to twelve months, the current group of Android owners will be coming to the end of their contracts and looking for an upgrade. Our data shows that when these consumers upgrade they tend to remain fairly loyal to Android itself (62% buy another Android mobile), but considerably less so to the handset manufacturer. A key challenge for the likes of HTC and Samsung will be to continue to attract non-smartphone customers while keeping their existing Android base loyal.’