As if Apple wasn’t facing enough headwind this year, now comes word that Android smartphones are making big market share gains around the world.
According to the latest market share numbers for the first quarter of 2016 (from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech) Android grew significantly in the U.S., Europe, and China as Apple’s iOS lost ground.
In the top five European markets (U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Spain), Android’s market share increased to 75.6 percent, up 7.1 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
Android grabbed 65.5 percent in the U.S, up 7.3 percent from the previous year. And in major Chinese urban areas, Android phones had 77 percent market share, up 6 percent from a year ago.
The numbers reflect the growing competition Apple is facing from the proliferation of smartphone brands that offer low-cost Android-based gadgets with a strong set of features.
“This is the strongest growth for Android across the EU5 in more than two years,” said Lauren Guenveur, Kantar mobile analyst, in a statement. “What’s more, the growth is coming not just from one or two players, but from different brands and ecosystems, varying from region to region.”
In the U.S., Samsung’s Galaxy S7 is apparently off to a strong start, giving Android a boost there.
“Although it was available for only a few weeks during this sales period, the Samsung Galaxy S7 was the fifth-best-selling device in the three months ending March 2016, capturing 4.2 percent of sales,” Guenveur said in her statement. “The Galaxy S6 also performed well, due to price reductions before the S7’s release. ”
All eyes are now on the iPhone SE, the lower-cost (though not cheap) version of the iPhone that Apple released this year. Analysts are waiting to see whether it can reverse Apple’s market share declines.
“Android share could also be negatively affected by high demand for the Apple iPhone SE,” Guenveur said. “iPhone SE sales will be particularly important in China, where success in the mid-tier will determine the top player in the region. These factors should play out further in the next quarter.”