The battle between Google Android and Apple iOS seems to be unending despite the flat global smartphone sales in the present scenario. The two smartphone OS giants uprooted the other potential competitors like Windows OS and Blackberry. Among the two, though Apple iOS is winning over Android in the US smartphone market, albeit with a minuscule margin, the scenario is entirely opposite in other countries. According to the latest report from Kantar World Panel in Q2 2016, the sales of Android-powered smartphones remained weak in the US as the smartphone sales shares of Android dropped 0.6% point year over year, to 65.5%. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) strengthened its presence in the smartphone market in the US as iPhone sales share went up by 1.3% point during the same quarter, accounting for 31.8% of the total smartphone OS sales share in the US. However, in contrast to the US market, other regions like EU5, China, Japan and Australia reported a significant increase in Android smartphone sales share and decrease in the iOS sales share on the year over year basis in Q2 2016.
iOS Smartphone sales in the US: Apple’s Saviour
The data from Kantar clearly highlights that in Q2 2016, Apple iPhone sales remained flat in the EU5 countries and Australia and catalogued a significant QoQ and YoY decline in China and Japan. The US emerged as the only market where Apple iOS smartphone (iPhone) strengthened its presence by recording a 1.3% point increase in iPhone sales share. Apple iPhone accounted 34.7% of the total Smartphone sales in the US despite the healthy competition from Samsung’s premium offering the Galaxy S7 range. iPhone sales in the US have been impressive over the quarters, averaging around 33.1% growth in the past six quarters including Q2 2016.
Despite the competition from Samsung Galaxy S7 series Apple’s iPhone 6S/6S Plus captured the top spot with 15.1% share of the total number of smartphones sold in the US in Q2 2016. The second place was captured by Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, both cataloguing 14.1% of the total number of smartphone sales in the country during the same period. The budget variant of Apple, iPhone SE accounted for 5.1% of the total smartphone sales in the US in the quarter.
Android And iPhone Ate Into Windows Smartphone Market
In the EU5 that consists of Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy and Spain, the sales share of Android OS went up by 5.5% point in Q2 2016 compared to the same quarter last year. On the other hand, Apple was also able to increase its iPhone sales share marginally by 0.7% point. The growth of Android and iPhone largely came at the cost of Windows OS Smartphone which recorded the slum of more than 50% in sales year over year in Q2 2016.
Surprisingly, iPhone SE was a hit in Great Britain accounting for 9.2% of the total smartphone sales in the second quarter of this year. The sales figure of iPhone 6S was also impressive as the device accounted for 9.1% of the total smartphone sales. Although the sales of iOS smartphones declined by a meagre 0.7% year over year, capturing 18.2% share in Q2 2016 in the EU5.
The sales numbers in the EU5 countries came as a surprise as a number of countries in the region are burning with declining currency valuation and Brexit issues. Despite, Apple was able to sell its expensive iPhone in the country. However, the next quarter would be quite interesting as just launched Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 will fuel the competition.
Apple iPhone Lost Ground to Android in China
Due to ongoing tussles and issues with the Chinese government, Apple seems to have losing its grip on the smartphone market of China. In Q2 2016, iPhone sales in China were down by 1.8% point year over year to 17.9% smartphone sales share. The notable point here is that Apple has lost a sizable smartphone market share in China in the last few quarters – if we just ignore the sales of iPhone in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The Android smartphone sales in China were up again in Q2 2016. The growth was at the cost of iPhone mostly. The sales share of Android OS were up by 2.1% point to 81.4% share.
One of the biggest reasons behind Android smartphone growth in China is the available support to local smartphone manufacturers in the country. In a bid to help local players, Chinese Government is backing its indigenous smartphone manufacturers. On the other hand, in China, Apple is facing some issues from patent disputes to banning iPhones sales in the country. The rising competition from Chinese Android smartphone behemoths, likes of Huawei and Xiaomi, has affected the sales of iPhone in the country. Apple, which captured the top spot in Chinese smartphone market over the years, has slipped down to 3rd place in the list of top smartphone vendors in the second quarter of 2016. The top spot in the smartphone market is seized by the promising Chinese company Huawei with 25.7% sales share, followed by Xiaomi with 18.5% share in 2Q 2016.
The biggest challenge for the Cupertino giant is to cut down the price of iPhones to compete with the state-of-the-art budget smartphones Chinese smartphone manufacturers have flooded the market with. Conversely, Huawei’s strategy of its premium smartphone offering punched hard on Apple’s iPhone’s face as the Chinese smartphone behemoth recorded an impressive shipments number in the Chinese market recently.
Apple iPhone: Tough Time Ahead
The next variant of iPhone would decide Apple’s fate as around 51% of the China’s iPhone users, and 49% of US iPhone users still own the iPhone 5s or older versions and yet to upgrade. Unfortunately, Apple’s upcoming iPhone doesn’t seem to be impressive according to some analysts. Apple iPhone SE has failed mark its presence in potential smartphone markets, India and China, as people in the markets don’t find so-called budget iPhone much pocket-friendly.
Everyone is waiting for the 10th anniversary iPhone that is slated to be the best iPhone Apple has ever made. In the current scenario the company appears to be out of ideas in the present time, therefore, the Cupertino giant may be vying to get its things together before releasing its anniversary iPhone.
The competition with Samsung’s flagship device and ongoing challenges in China – the country that accounts 30% of global smartphone sales – bundled with the lack of innovation in iPhone has been a knockout punch for Apple recently. When compared the performance of each smartphone manufacturer by the smartphones sales share, it is clearly evident that Apple has been losing its market to other smartphone manufacturers, consistently in the potential markets, i.e. US and China, for the last few quarters.
Apple iPhone has started losing grounds in India as well primarily due to the ban on refurbished iPhone sales. Refurbished iPhone sales in India contributed to the majority of profits for Apple in fiscal Q2 2016. The point here is, besides India Apple is losing its potential markets, i.e. the US, China, to Android. Despite the strong sale figures of iPhone 6S in the US, Apple has faced serious competition from Samsung in Q2 2016.
Google Android has again dominated the smartphone sales in the number of countries, but the OS is struggling with its fore long fragmentation problem. But that doesn’t stop consumers from purchasing an Android-powered smartphone. Google is planning to shame the lethargic manufacturers who do not deliver timely updates for their smartphones. And, if Google succeeds in its mission, we can only see increasing struggle for Apple and iPhone in the future.