According to Kantar WorldPanel, Windows Phone is growing modestly across Europe, but seems stuck in the US due to carrier exclusivity and the duopoly the iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy line hold. The latest figures represent the sales of the four major mobile operating systems in the three months ending April 2014 compared to the same time last year.
Looking at the charts indicates that Europe is Windows Phone’s strongest market and has been showing steady growth, despite the absence of new handset releases. When the purchase of Nokia’s mobile division by Microsoft was announced 8 months ago, which just received approval to go through last month, Nokia has significantly cut down on advertising and it’s been showing in the last two quarters’ sales numbers. Windows Phone’s numbers, although increasing when comparing results year-over-year, have dipped slightly quarter over quarter. Nevertheless, Europe has been much more welcoming to Windows Phone than the US.
Windows Phone’s best market in Europe look to be Italy, where it has been in second place and surpassing iOS since August 2013, but has recently been overtaken and is currently behind iOS which is at 13.4% compared to Windows Phone 11.8%. In the UK, Windows Phone is currently at 9.5%, while in France and Germany it’s at 10.1% and 6.9% respectively.
China has been a very tough market for Windows Phone as it only holds 0.8% of smartphone sales. Although China is a massive market, it seems to have gone with Android which now hold almost 80% of sales. Nokia’s X Android based devices which run on Microsoft services could possibly do something to gain Microsoft share in the future, but Windows Phone has proven to be a tough sell to the Chinese.
However, the US has not been kind to Windows Phone recently – it experienced a slight dip to 4.6% compared to the year before where it was at 5.6%. Nokia hasn’t released a true flagship device since its Lumia 920 in late 2012, and the Lumia 1020 has been around since last July, being exclusive only to AT&T.
Although Nokia released the Lumia 1520 on AT&T this past fall, it hasn’t been well accepted due to its massive screen size at 6″. Nokia’s Lumia Icon, which was the only major Windows Phone release this year, and available exclusively on Verizon, had little fighting chance fending off Apple’s new iPhone 5s and the recent release of Samsung’s Galaxy S5. Windows Phone being exclusive to certain carriers at certain times has proven to be holding the platform back in the US, however, now that Microsoft gains ownership of Nokia’s mobile division, things are set to change. We expect the change to be positive as Microsoft has lots of marketing muscle it can flex and a stronger brand name in the US than Nokia does.
With Windows Phone 8.1 update starting to roll out this June, and the positive reviews it’s been receiving, along with Microsoft’s strategy to drop licencing fees with Windows Phones to OEM’s, we expect things to be more positive later this year as new flagship models are set to be released. Nokia will be releasing the Lumia 630 and 930 soon and it should bring more positive momentum, but it wont’ be until this November that we expect to see multiple flagship devices from Samsung, HTC, possibly Sony and of course Microsoft.
Microsoft has just recently acquired Nokia’s mobile division and we expect to see major changes in marketing strategies along with much bigger funding to jump start Windows Phones growth.
Source: Kantar WorldPanel