Comparing mobile platforms across the globe

The leading mobile smartphone platforms: iOS, Android, Widows Phone and Blackberry are battling it out for domination in every single country across the world. In this article we run a comparison of how well each mobile platform is doing across various countries. As you’ll see, this will highlight some interesting facts and anomalies. Our data comes from research commissioned by Google and conducted by independent third party research firms in early 2012 (see for details).

Let’s start off with the United States. Android leads in the US with a 40% market share. iOS is close behind at 32%. The notable difference here is that Android represents a huge list of phone manufacturers whilst the iOS numbers are for one company only: Apple. Blackberry is still holding out at 11% but their numbers have been decreasing steadily. Notice how Symbian (Nokia) smartphones are practically non-existent in the US market.

US Smartphone Market Share

And now, let’s have a look at the UK market:

UK Smartphone Market Share

Android and iOS are neck-and-neck with 29% and 30% marketshare respectively. Blackberry still features quite prominently at 23%. This explains why many pundits believe that the 2011 London riots were instigated and stoked over Blackberry’s BBM service.

If we start looking at some European mainland markets, this is what France looks like:


France Smartphone Market Share

So the French seem to be pretty obsessed with their iPhones. France is one of the few large markets where iPhones have garnered such a large lead over their Android counterparts.

This is the Swiss market:


Switzerland Smartphone Market Share

Once again, there is a considerable lead for the iOS platform.

The German market is slightly different:


Germany Smartphone Market Share

And Denmark:


Denmark Smarphone Markey Share

One common theme for Europe appears to be that the European mainland markets have given up on Blackberry completely with Blackberry’s numbers being virtually non-existent in all of them. Symbian also seems to be waning across Europe. Of course in Nokia’s home country, Finland, the Symbian platform puts in a strong showing:


Finland Smartphone Market Share

These Symbian numbers can be expected to sway towards the Windows Phone platform now that the Finnish giant has thrown their lot in with Microsoft.

Japan is an interesting market since they’ve had home-grown smartphones for many, many years. The current Japanese market has changed though, and Android is the preferred platform for Japanese phone users with iPhone lagging behind. None of the other phone platforms have any significant inroads into the Japanese market.


Japan Smartphone Market Share

What about developing markets? The Chinese market is dominated by Android and by Nokia phones:


China Smartphone Market Share

Another developing market, Brazil, has an interesting anomaly in the data. 24% of the respondents didn’t know what mobile operating system their phone was running.


Brazil Smartphone Market Share

Lastly, let’s look at South Africa. This data is not yet on the OurMobilePlanet site but was cited by Google at 2011’s Think Mobile event.


South Africa Smartphone Market Share

Blackberry has a dominant lead in the market with a 44% market share. Nokia smartphones still make up 15% of the market. Android, Windows Phone and iOS make up the difference with iPhones only in the hands of a paltry 4% of the population. This data is from December 2011. Things might have changed since then but we are willing to bet that the rankings are still pretty similar. What does this mean? If you want to target mass market audiences in South Africa, you should be looking at the Blackberry and Symbian platforms. Building iPhone apps should probably only be considered for brands and companies targeting the upper LSM’s.

Mobile phone companies and the dominant mobile platforms seem to be engaged in a complex battle on multiple fronts across the world with each platform sharing wins and losses. The common theme appears to be a world dominated by Android and iOS, with Blackberry and Symbian in decline and Windows Phone not making any inroads yet. However, ignore the intricacies of individual markets at your own peril!


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