Cheap iPhone 4 devices are tempting first-time smartphone buyers in the UK, helping Apple to raise its market share in the nation to 30.5 percent by the end of June 2013 – at the expense of Android, which fell by one percent.
The rise in Apple iPhone 4 ownership also means that 65 percent of the UK population now owns a smartphone, up from 55 percent last year. Although this is strong growth, it still means that around 19 million people are still using a feature phone.
The figures, based on data from research firm Kantar Worldpanel, showed that demand for Apple's iOS platform enjoyed an increase in market share of 5.2 percent increase on the same period last year, up from 25.3 percent.
The firm said the growth was not due to the iPhone 5 hitting the market, but from iPhone 4 sales by first-time smartphone buyers, as Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, explained to V3.
“Apple has got a lot more aggressive on pricing around the iPhone 4, with devices available for about £20 [on contract],”he said.
“At those sort of prices people aren’t so interested in specs but about brand and model. Apple is still seen as better than Android, and Apple has realised it needs to maintain sales as its iPhone 5 reaches the end of its lifecycle,” he said.
Although iOS rose significantly, Android easily held its number one spot with 57.2 percent of the market. However, this was a fall of one percent from the same period last year.
Sunnebo said this was in part due to Apple’s rise but also interest in the Windows Phone platform, with some first-time buyers starting to favour cheaper, low-end Nokia devices over Google’s platform.
This has helped Windows Phone rise from 4.5 percent to 8.8 percent and Sunnebo said this has the potential for further growth, especially if people upgrade to higher-end devices.
“Windows Phone is starting to grow pretty fast in the UK. That’s been driven by its bigger portfolio from devices like the Lumia 620 and 520. People don’t want to buy into a niche platform so the wider portfolio is a good step for Nokia,” he said.
“They need to get people engaged in the handsets and the ecosystem so they get more embedded and then may spend more on their next handset, with a focus on the high end.”
While there was cause for optimism for Nokia and Microsoft, BlackBerry suffered badly, with its market share slumping from 10.8 percent in June 2012 to just 4.1 percent this time around.
The figures only reaffirm the tough time faced by the Canadian firm to convince users of its new BB10 operating system.
“So far there have been no low-end devices for BlackBerry users, often teenagers, to purchase, although the Q5 is now available,” Sunnebo noted, adding that BlackBerry needs to copy Nokia’s strategy.
“BlackBerry needs to expand its portfolio, like Nokia, but Nokia is about two years ahead.”
Last week BlackBerry revealed a further 250 jobs were to be cut from the company as it continues to face a tough market despite launching its new BB10 operating system to great fanfare at the start of this year.
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