LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - Mar 9, 2016) - The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech for the three months ending January 2016 shows that Apple's iOS continued to grow share in urban China, though the rate of that growth was the slowest since late 2014. Apple also remained the most popular brand, capturing 25% of smartphone sales.

"Looking at the three months individually, January was the weakest month for Apple in China as more price-sensitive consumers might have been waiting to see what promotions Chinese New Year would bring in early February," said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. "In the rest of the world, smartphone platform dynamics remained pretty stable period-over-period, with no surprises."

"In the EU5, Huawei remained the second strongest brand in the Android ecosystem, growing to 14% in the three months ending January 2016, up from 5% in the same period in 2014," said Dominic Sunnebo, business unit director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe. "In Great Britain and France, Huawei doubled its share over the past year, and climbed to number four in the brand ranking, while remaining number two in Italy, Spain and Germany."

Europe's big five markets ("EU5") include Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

"In urban China, iOS share continued to grow year-over-year, albeit at a slower pace, as iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone 6 were the best-selling smartphones in the region," noted Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia. "Huawei continued its momentum and is closing the gap with its nearest competitor, Apple, capturing 24.3% of sales. Xiaomi, which announced its Mi-5 at the recent Mobile World Congress, maintained a distant third, as it dropped 10.2 percentage points over the same period in 2015."

"In the US, the battle to persuade feature phone owners to upgrade to a smartphone was won by Android, which saw nearly a third (30.6%) of sales come from that segment, compared to 13.7% for iOS. Among first-time smartphone buyers in the Android ecosystem, Samsung was the top brand purchased, followed by LG, Motorola, and value-driven brands ZTE and Alcatel," Milanesi explained. "Carrier choice also suggests a more value-driven consumer, with Tracfone Wireless and MetroPCS among the top five carriers chosen."

Smartphone vendors are moving into new segments such as Virtual Reality, like HTC and Samsung, or 2-in-1s, like Huawei. Others will venture into new markets, like Xiaomi, which introduced its new flagship during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

"The pressure is certainly on," Milanesi observed, "and, for a lot of up-and-coming brands, the US will be a strong focus in 2016, since success in the North American market opens the door to being a truly global player. While the immediate focus of consumers and industry watchers alike will remain on Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 edge performance, and on Apple's rumoured release of another four-inch iPhone in mid-March, it certainly looks like the second half of this year will be very interesting for everyone."

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  Smartphone OS Sales Share (%)      
  Germany   3 m/e Jan 15   3 m/e Jan 16   % pt. Change     USA   3 m/e Jan 15   3 m/e Jan 16   % pt. Change
   Android    71.0   74.2   3.2      Android    51.9   58.2   6.3
   iOS    18.7   19.3   0.6      iOS    42.8   39.1   -3.7
   Windows    8.9   5.9   -3.0      Windows    4.3   2.6   -1.7
   Other    1.4   0.6   -0.8      Other    1.0   0.1   -0.9
  GB   3 m/e Jan 15   3 m/e Jan 16   % pt. Change     China   3 m/e Jan 15   3 m/e Jan 16   % pt. Change
   Android    51.5   52.6   1.1      Android    74.2   73.9   -0.3
   iOS    39.9   38.6   -1.3      iOS    23.9   25.0   1.1
   Windows    7.5   8.6   1.1      Windows    1.0   0.9   -0.1
   Other    1.1   0.2   -0.9      Other    0.9   0.2   -0.7
  France   3 m/e Jan 15   3 m/e Jan 16   % pt. Change     Australia   3 m/e Jan 15   3 m/e Jan 16   % pt. Change
   Android    65.3   71.8   6.5      Android    46.9   52.6   5.7
   iOS    20.2   19.3   -0.9      iOS    42.4   41.2   -1.2
   Windows    13.0   7.8   -5.2      Windows    8.7   5.4   -3.3
   Other    1.5   1.1   -0.4      Other    2.0   0.8   -1.2
  Italy   3 m/e Jan 15   3 m/e Jan 16   % pt. Change     Japan   3 m/e Jan 15   3 m/e Jan 16   % pt. Change
   Android    66.6   78.1   11.5      Android    45.4   48.7   3.3
   iOS    18.3   14.4   -3.9      iOS    52.4   50.3   -2.1
   Windows    13.2   7.2   -6.0      Windows    0.2   0.5   0.3
   Other    1.9   0.3   -1.6      Other    2.0   0.5   -1.5
  Spain   3 m/e Jan 15   3 m/e Jan 16   % pt. Change     EU5   3 m/e Jan 15   3 m/e Jan 16   % pt. Change
   Android    86.7   87.8   1.1      Android    67.1   72.8   5.7
   iOS    10.4   11.4   1.0      iOS    22.0   20.3   -1.7
   Windows    2.5   0.8   -1.7      Windows    9.6   6.4   -3.3
   Other    0.4   0.0   -0.4      Other    1.3   0.5   -0.8

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About Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's Smartphone OS Market Share Data
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's smartphone OS market share data provides the media and businesses with access to the most up-to-date sales and market share figures for the major smartphone operating systems. This information is based on research extracted from the Kantar Worldpanel ComTech global consumer panel. ComTech is the largest continuous consumer research / mobile phone tracking panel of its kind in the world, conducting over one million interviews per year in Europe alone. ComTech tracks mobile phone behaviour -- including phone purchases, bills/airtime, source of purchase, and usage. It also delivers additional data to promote an understanding of the drivers of share changes, and consumer insight market dynamics. All consumer data in this release excludes enterprise sales.

About Kantar Worldpanel
Kantar Worldpanel is the global expert in shoppers' behavior.

Through continuous monitoring, advanced analytics, and tailored solutions, Kantar Worldpanel inspires successful decisions by brand owners, retailers, market analysts, and government organizations globally. With over 60 years' experience, a team of 3,500, and services covering 60 countries directly or through partners, Kantar Worldpanel turns purchase behavior into competitive advantage in markets as diverse as FMCG, impulse products, fashion, baby, telecommunications and entertainment, among many others.

Kantar Worldpanel is part of the Kantar Group, one of the world's largest insight, information, and consultancy networks. The Kantar Group is the data investment management division of WPP.

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Kantar is the data investment management division of WPP, and one of the world's largest insight, information, and consultancy groups. By connecting the diverse talents of its 12 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Kantar's 27,000 employees work across 100 countries and the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to deliver business insights from every point of the consumer cycle. The group's services are employed by over half of the Fortune 500 companies.

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