Windows Phone sells strong in Europe, Argentina, and Australia, but remains weak in U.S. and China

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) saw market share in the U.S. -- the world's most valuable smartphone market -- hit a recent low of 30.1% in Aug. 2014, according to analytics from the Kantar Group, a top mobile market research firm and subsidiary of the UK conglomerate (LON:WPP).  

But recent World Panel metrics from Kantar -- show that with the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ in September, Apple has rebounded, reaching a phone shipment market share of 41.5% (not to be confused with a total market share, which some other firms look at).

Apple's gains in the U.S. came primary at the expense of Google Inc. (GOOG) and its Android partners.  Android shipments fell from 63.6% in August to 53.8% in October.  Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry, Ltd. (TSE:BB) also lost much of what little ground it had left, dropping from 1.2% to 0.3%.  Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows Phone platform -- which hasn't seen a flagship release in the U.S. in months -- also lost some steam dropping from 4.7% to 3.6%.

iPhone 6
The iPhone 6 revived Apple's slumping sales in multiple markets.

iPhone market share in China, the world's largest smartphone market, hit a low in June of 12.8%.  With the launch of the iPhone 6/6+ it stood at 15.7% in October.  Australian market share showed a similar trend, with iOS hitting a low of 25.5% in June and rising to 40.4% by October.  Japanese iPhone shipment share hit a low of 27.1% in August, but had risen to 48% in October.

Apple's weakest market is Europe, aside from Great Britain.  British iPhone shipments had dipped to 27.1% in August, but jumped to 39.5% in October.  Elsewhere in top European markets, though, the iPhone 6 launch was met with a yawn.  In Italy the iPhone had 13.5% of the market in October, less than Microsoft Windows smartphones (13.8%).  Spain (6.8% for iOS), Germany (16.9% for iOS), and France (19.6%) also saw weak interest in Apple's smartphones.

Windows Phone continues to do quite well in Europe, achieving double digit market shares in France and Italy.  It's also doing well in South America, with a 10.5% market share in Argentina.  In other European markets (Germany, Spain, and Great Britain) and Australia Windows Phone managed a 7% or better market share.  It appears that budget buyers in China and the U.S. are mostly turning to Android, but in other regions some are embracing Windows smartphones.

Lumia 630
Windows smartphones are selling well in some markets (Lumia 635 is pictured).

Kantar also gave some interesting details about the iPhone 6 versus iPhone 6+ breakdown.  In the U.S. the iPhone 6, the smaller, cheaper model, outsold the phablet-class iPhone 6+ 3-to-1.  In Great Britain this gap was even bigger, with the iPhone 6 outselling the iPhone 6+ 4-to-1.  The lukewarm reception for the iPhone 6+ may in part be due to negative publicity over design weakness that made the phone suceptible to certain kinds of bending forces, woes that the public dubbed "bendgate".

iPhone 6+
iPhone 6+ sales were weak.

Other interesting figures from Britain:
  • Men like the iPhone more than women -- 64% of iPhone buyers (nearly two thirds) were men.
  • 86 percent of iPhone buyers were returning customers.
  • Only 5% of iPhone buyers switched from Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KRX:005930) (KRX:005935).
Overall the iPhone 6 did cut into Android (and in many markets Windows smartphone) sales a bit, but in most regions iPhone market share remains off historic highs.  An exception is Britain, where iPhone adoption was at an all time high in October.

A final oddball note -- apparently BlackBerry's sole remaining stronghold is Argentina, where it has a 4.7% market share in October.  Outside of Argentina, the next highest market share for BlackBerry was 1.1% in Italy.  Apparently the public wasn't very impressive with BlackBerry's quirky square smartphone, the BlackBerry Passport.

Sources: Kantar World Panel [press release], [map]

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