A closer look at the reports of iOS gaining marketshare over Android
Mar 2, 2012 4:28 PM –
I’ve been seeing a lot of reports recently in mainstream media that all point back to a Gartner report that came out in mid-February on the state of the mobile market. I thought we’d take a moment to look at that report, and what it actually said, since there seems to be a few misrepresentations that I’ve seen.
First of all, the most cited statistic from the report is that Apple gained market share over Android in the fourth quarter of last year (the most recent statistics that are available.) And while it’s true that the report does state that Apple gained a few percentage points of share in the fourth quarter, this was compared to the third quarter of the same year. Further down, when comparing year-over-year numbers, which is actually a better measurement, you find that iOS now holds 23.8% of the mobile OS market, up from the 15.8% it held a year ago. However, Android held 50.9% market share in Q4 – up from only 30.5% last year. So while Apple did have a good quarter, it was mostly due to the release of the iPhone 4S, which the report notes is the presumed reason for the strong finish last year. But even with that, Apple is still falling further behind Android in overall mobile usage, which is the one thing many of the articles commenting on the report fail to mention.
Now, where Apple is rising fast and gaining ground is in actual hardware. It rose to become the number three mobile hardware manufacturer in the world, with Nokia still far in the lead above everyone else, and Samsung coming in right behind them. Again, however, it is worth noting here that while Apple is number three, it is with 7.4% market share, versus Nokia’s 23.4% and Samsung’s 19.4%.
I won’t deny that Apple had a pretty good year last year, and ended it very strong. But take the reports that claim it is kicking everyone else to the curb in sales and market share with a grain of salt. iOS is way behind Android in market share (although again, to be fair, the gains on both platforms are currently coming more from users switching from Symbian, Blackberry or Windows units, rather than from each other) and when it comes to hardware, it is doing well, but still falls far short of the leaders by a large margin.