Windows Phone has posted its highest ever share of the smartphone market, emerging the third most popular operating system (OS) behind leaders Android and Apple.
Latest findings from market research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech show Windows Phone are responsible for almost one in 10 smartphone sales across five major European markets, during the three-month period to the end of July.
In Britain, Windows Phone – the operating system on some lower-priced smartphones such as Nokia – makes up 9.2% of smartphone OS sales. This is up from 4.2% during the same period last year.
Windows Phone is still some way off Android – used on Samsung and HTC phones - with 55.2% of the market share in Britain, which is ahead of iOS – featured on the Apple iPhone – with 31.1%. BlackBerry had been the third most popular OS this time last year, but sales have tailed off – commanding just 3.5% of the market share, down from 11% in Britain a year ago.
Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said: “Android and Apple take the lion’s share of the headlines and continue to dominate smartphone sales, so it’s easy to forget that there is a third operating system emerging as a real adversary.
“Windows Phone, driven largely by lower priced Nokia smartphones such as the Lumia 520, now represents around one in 10 smartphone sales in Britain, France, Germany and Mexico. For the first time the platform has claimed the number two spot in a major world market, taking 11.6% of sales in Mexico.”
Globally, Apple and Android continue to dominate sales. Android is far stronger across the major European markets and China where it accounted for around 70% of smartphone sales during the past quarter, while Apple continues to perform very well in the USA where it has grown its share to 43.4% of sales.
Mr Sunnebo said: “Windows Phone’s success has been in convincing first-time smartphone buyers to choose one of its devices with 42% of sales over the past year coming from existing featurephone owners.
“This is a much higher proportion than Android and iOS. The Lumia 520 is hitting a sweet spot, offering the price and quality that new smartphone buyers are looking for.
“With the iPhone 4 and lower end or older Samsung Galaxy models selling well among first time smartphone owners, there is plenty of competition for these customers. The brands that win in this segment will be those that understand and address the needs of consumers in terms of price, content, and quality.”