Windows Phone devices now make up one in 10 of all smartphones in major European markets as the operating system's market share continues to grow, boosted by Nokia Lumia devices. More importantly, data suggests it is making steady progress in the all-important emerging markets.
Figures released as part of Kantar's Smartphone OS barometer show that while Google's Android operating system dominates proceedings in Europe with 71.9 percent of the market, Windows Phone's rapid progress has been achieved almost entirely by sales of Nokia Lumia devices.
In the UK, Windows Phone holds third position in the standings, with 11.4 percent of the market. Its progress has been helped by the wait for new Apple iPhones and the continuing decline of BlackBerry's fortunes.
While Apple's share fell a percentage point to 27 percent, the Christmas period will be where it makes gains once again, according to Kantar strategic insight director Dominic Sunnebo: "August is traditionally a quiet month for Apple as consumers wait for the release of new models, and strong sales of the iPhone 5S and 5C at the end of September did not manage to make up for the lull," he said. "The full impact of the new iPhones will be seen at Christmas when iOS is expected to bounce back strongly in Britain, the US and Australia."
For Nokia, which was recently bought by Microsoft, its progress in emerging markets is one of its key strengths, as the firm produces budget handsets popular with aspirational smartphone users in areas such as Latin America. Sunnebo said that the the Nokia brand has a good chance of rekindling its former magic in the market.
"Nokia dominated in Latin America for many years, and while its popularity declined with the fortunes of Symbian it now has an opportunity to regain the top-spot," he noted. "The majority of consumers in Latin America still own a Nokia featurephone and upgrading to an entry level Lumia is a logical next step. Price is the main barrier in developing markets and the budget Lumia 520 opens the door to smartphone ownership for many."
Emerging markets are becoming increasingly important for smartphone manufacturers as the gradual reduction in cost of components mixes well with the explosive economic growth in territories like China. As such, Apple in particular has put particular focus on establishing itself in China and has found a footing. However, local manufacturers such as Lenovo and Huawei continue to hold most of the market.
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