Europe's five largest markets saw an increasing number of smartphone buyers move from Android to iOS in recent months. For the three months ending in July 2015, customers in Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain switched from Android to iOS at a rate of 27%, far exceeding the U.S. switching rate of 9%.
From Kantar Worldpanel:
"The maturity of the European market is evident when looking at the declining number of first time smartphone buyers – in the 3 months ending July 2015, only 25% of smartphones sold went to first-time buyers versus 29% for the same period in 2014," said Dominic Sunnebo, business unit director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe. "This type of market maturity increases the impact of churn on overall performance as we have seen with Android this time around – 27% of smartphone buyers across Europe left Android for iOS versus 9% in the US."
In the U.S., the market continues to be dominated by Apple and Samsung, who account for a total of 64% of all smartphone sold. Both the Android marketshare climb and the iOS share decline slowed in the U.S. in the three months ending in July as well. Kantar also sees a major opportunity for phone replacements in 2016, as users in Apple's two biggest markets, the U.S. and China, are using phones that are at least two years old.
This data suggests Apple has ample opportunity for upgrades in 4Q15 and 2016. As in the previous year, upgrades will come not only from the new iPhone models, but from the current iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which should experience the drop in price we have seen in previous years for retiring flagship devices. In the US, 32% of iPhone 5s sales were generated after the launch of the iPhone 6 and, in the three months ending in July 2015, the iPhone 5s was still the fourth best-selling smartphone in the US.
In addition, many iPhone users in China acquired their iPhones about 24 months ago, within the average timeframe for upgrades in that country. Upgrades have already increased in China since September 2014, with 18% of iPhone owners upgrading in the last year, versus 12% the previous year.