Market Data

Android Leads Sales but Apple’s iOS Still Owns Usage

Worth a read is this article from Henry Blodget at Business Insider about Android & Apple and their battle for market share. Blodget highlights the fact that although Android has been dominating global market share of smartphone sales, they are trailing well behind Apple in usage.

Business Insider published an earlier story about Apple’s declining market share, but this latest analysis sheds new light on the true nature of the battle.  To borrow Blodget’s post title, he asks….

Is It Time To Conclude That Android Gadgets Are Bought By People Who Don’t Actually Do Anything With Them?

This might not be news to anyone in the app publishing market. Certainly in Australia, Android sales were slow to catch up to the iOS platform, so there was a school of thought that we simply wouldn’t see that trend here. But we have.

Sales of Android devices are now well ahead of Apple devices in Australia. Even so, anyone tracking impressions of ad units, app downloads, site traffic or any other usage data for smartphones locally will be able to tell you that iOS devices dominate.

Which is perhaps why Australians working in the mobile space raise their eyebrows and shrug when they see data like this from Kantar World Panel. Kantar recently reported that Australian Smartphone sales for Q3 (ending Sep 2012) were 67% Android devices compared to 23% iOS. That’s an increase of 14% on this time last year for Google’s Android platform and a drop of nearly 5% for Apple.

In Australia we are certainly not seeing mobile web and app usage to reflect these device sales market shares. If anything it’s closer to the reverse.  NetMarketShare collect monthly mobile usage data based on measuring unique visitors on about 40k websites globally. According to their October 2012 data, 59% of Smartphone usage comes from Apple Devices, and 27% from Android. That’s a global figure, but I don’t think it would be far off what we see across the board locally as well.

If all those numbers are messing with your head, what that means in a nutshell is (approximately):

  • Android has 60% market share (of sales) but 27% mobile web & app usage
  • iOS has 23% market share (of sales) but 59% mobile web & usage

How does this compare to what you’re seeing locally?  What does that mean for the long term potential for both platforms?

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  1. Are you comparing share of recent sales against overall share of market and wondering why the traffic doesn’t match? Look around you. Android does not have 60% market share.

  2. Emily Rogers (Freeman) says:

    You make a valid point John, and I probably should have clarified the difference in the article (I have now edited the article to be clearer) . Thanks for bringing it up.

    It’s true that market share and ‘share of sales’ are quite different figures. The fact is though, Android devices have made up more than 30% of Australian smartphone sales since Q1 2011. With smartphone replacement cycles probably under 2 years (sorry I don’t have a recent estimate to hand), the actual market share can’t be lagging too far behind. Of course we’re talking smartphone share here, not all mobile devices.

    I guess the other point to make is that these percentage differences are reflected in countries where Android has owned the market for significantly longer than here in Australia.

    At the end of the day John, It’s really hard to get accurate data for Australia so a lot of the time we have to draw logical conclusions from global data and personal experience.

    I’d like to hear your point of view. What is your experience of Android usage behaviour? Would you say it differs from iOS usage patterns?

  3. It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out. This is a totally anecdotal comment but i do know a lot of IOS users who switched to android who plan on switching back to iOS the main reason given seems to be that iOS really does it’s core competencies well web, apps, calls/SMS and content. Android offers a lot of extra bells and whistles but users tends to get overloaded with features and customisations options that don’t tend to add significant value just create more clutter.

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