The increasing affordability of the iPhone 4 has led to Apple almost grabbing one third of the UK smartphone market, according to latest sales data.
A report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech said Apple now accounts for 30.2% of the market, up 5.2% percentage points on 2012. The agency claimed first time smartphone buyers are flocking to the iPhone 4 because of cut-price deals. While there has been an increasing clamour for Apple to release an affordable iPhone, it seems its 2010 device is filling the gap.
Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at the agency, said: 'Margins are tighter at the entry-level end of the market, but as consumers become more engaged with their smartphone they are increasingly prepared to invest more when they upgrade. Apple boasts the highest level of customer loyalty of the operating systems, and by capturing consumers at entry-level it is in a good position to grow its customer base in the future. With almost 19 million feature phone owners left in Britain, there is still a lot for iOS and the other platforms to compete for.'
Android still reigns supreme as the UK's most popular OS, with a 56.2% share, and it dominates the five biggest European markets with a share of almost 70%. Windows Phone continues to hold its position as the third most popular OS globally, with a 8.6% share in the UK. However, the United States remains a difficult market, with its share dipping from 4.6% to 4% during the past three months.
Sunnebo said: 'While flagship Windows handsets such as the Nokia 925 and HTC 8X grab the headlines, it is the low and mid-range models, such as the Nokia Lumia 520 and 620, which are quietly driving its momentum. It is vital for Windows to be seen as a mainstream alternative to Android and iOS rather than a niche platform. Selling large volumes of lower end smartphones is a good way of getting Windows seen in the hands of potential customers’ friends and family, convincing them there isn’t a risk in choosing the operating system. The majority of people are trend followers, not trend setters, so Windows needs to get as many smartphones to market as quickly as possible.'
Author: Graeme Neill