Cheaper Smartphones Drive Android Sales
Android Operating system emerged as the clear leader in the smartphone market in 2013, overpowering its rivals, especially Apple iOS. A new report by IDC shows Android leading by a considerable margin, with 78.6% of all sales being Android devices, compared with 15.2% for iOS and Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS even lower at 3.3% and 1.9% respectively.
Why Android gain over iOS
Experts believe that the domination by Android devices can largely be attributed to its access to the cheaper smartphone market which has become increasingly popular with the growth in numbers of smartphones in developing countries.
IDC states that as consumer buying behavior had shifted towards lower prices devices, Android’s dominance continued to increase. This is where Apple lost the overall market to Android.
On a separate note, Apple’s performance cannot go unobserved as well. As the IDC tracker states that Android and iOS together accounted for 95.7% of all smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2013 and for 93.8% of all smartphone shipments for the year.
Ramon Llams, research manager at IDC sees a strong end-user demand for both Android and iOS products during the last quarter and the year. “What stand out are the different routes Android and Apple took to meet this demand,” he says.
Llams explains that while Android relied on its long list of OEM partners, a broad and deep collection of devices, and price points that appealed to nearly every market segment, Apple’s iOS, relied on nearly the opposite approach. The company has limited selection of Apple-only devices, whose prices trended higher than most. Despite these differences, he believes that both platforms found a warm reception to their respective user experiences and selection of mobile applications.
However, whether Apple’s strategy can pay off in the long run is a big question mark. Researchers believe that with consumer showing an increased interest in lower prices devices, and this one area where Apple lost the overall market to Android.
Cheaper handsets to drive Android
Ryan Reith, program director at IDC noted, there had been a noticeable smartphone market growth towards smartphone which only cost sub-$200. In fact, 430 million units of these cheaper phones had been sold in 2013.
“While the market moves downstream to cheaper products it makes sense for Samsung and others to continue their marketing investments geared toward high-end products. These efforts build crucial brand perception while having less expensive alternatives that closely relate to these top products helps to close. Samsung has done exactly this with the ‘Galaxy’ line. This has been an important factor in how Samsung has sustained its market lead,” says Reith.
Currently, Samsung had accounted for nearly 40% market share of shipments of Android phones among Huawei, LG, Lenovo, Coolpad and Sony. In comparison, Android remains the leader in the smartphone operating system competition. iOS, on the other hand, had showed the lowest but positive growth for the quarter at 6.7 per cent, underperforming the overall market. Apple remains the most popular, but it had been repeatedly criticised for not being able to introduce a low-cost iPhone in 2013 to compete with other OEMs.
Other OS’ are currently quite far behind and will it will take time for these platforms to gain ground in the coming months. The Microsoft Windows Phone platform saw a 46.7% year-over-year rise in sales, which pushed its market share to three percent.BlackBerry saw its woes intensify with sales falling 77 percent from a year earlier and the market share sliding to just 0.6 percent. Moreover, IDC said most of the sales were older devices using the BlackBerry 7 operating system instead of the newer BB10.
However, analysts believe that with many markets becoming saturated, the landscape will be tougher and more competitive, and these platforms may then start gaining popularity.
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