In the last quarter of 2014, iOS and Android controlled about 96 percent of the entire mobile operating system market and this by itself is a reflection of how Apple’s mobile devices have fared over the years. Since then though, sales of Apple’s hottest device (the iPhone) has been on a decline partly due to saturation in the market and cheaper alternatives from rival phone makers.
Perhaps there is no better way of showing this than a Strategy Analytics report yesterday that said Android now had a commanding 88 percent share of the market in the third quarter of 2016. In a press release yesterday, Linda Sui who is a Director at Strategy Analytics said “Global smartphone shipments grew 6 percent annually from 354.2 million units in Q3 2015 to 375.4 million in Q3 2016. This was the smartphone industry’s fastest growth rate for a year. Modest smartphone regrowth is being supported by emerging markets with relatively low smartphone penetration across Asia and Africa Middle East, particularly countries such as India and South Africa.”
Apple’s iOS took a big hit and actually lost about 12 percent of its market share mainly because of lower sales in regions like China and Africa. China’s growth can be attributed to a generally slowing economy but Africa’s is mainly due to pricing and availability. In the absence of contract from networks for subscribers in Africa, many people rely on buying the iPhone or iPad at non-contract rates which are quite expensive. The US dollar has been strong for some time now even as wages across the continent are growing at a very slow pace. It therefore means that fewer people can afford high cost phones like the iPhone.
|Global Smartphone Operating System Shipments (Millions of Units)||Q3 ’15||Q3 ’16||Growth YoY %|
|Global Smartphone Operating System Marketshare (%)||Q3 ’15||Q3 ’16|
|Total Growth Year-over-Year %||9.5||%||6.0||%|
|Source: Strategy Analytics|
The likes of Samsung and Huawei usually produce alternative smart phones for the African market that usually come with dual SIM capabilities. Other less known phone makers like Tecno and Infiniti are also more affordable Android based brands that have penetrated the African market deeply.
That said, BlackBerry’s recent decision to halt production of its phones is well reflected in the report. Sui said “BlackBerry and Microsoft Windows Phone have all but disappeared due to strategic shifts, while Tizen and other emerging platforms softened as a result of limited product portfolios and modest developer support.”
Overall though, while shipment of PCs and tablets may not be living up to expectations, 373 million phones were shipped in the third quarter of 2016 and this was up 6 percent from 354.2 million units in the third quarter of 2015. Android based smartphones shipment rose 10.3 percent while Apple fell 5.2 percent according to the table above.