Android vs Apple
Comparing Apples with, um, Androids

Reliable market share statistics are often hard to come by. Do you mean share of new phones, share of unit sales, share of actual handsets owned, Smartphones, feature phones or all phones and everything in between. And then this quarter, the year as a whole or indeed this month? No wonder it’s confusing.

This week saw stats from Kantar WorldPanel Comtech on UK Smartphone share for those interested in the ongoing struggle for market share between Apple and Android. For what it’s worth, the stats show Android with 38% (up from 8% in the same period last year) of the UK Smartphone market versus Apple with 23%. This covers handset sales for the 12 weeks ending February 20th 2011.

In the US, Android is even stronger with an impressive 54.7% of the market and Apple 27.2%, together a dominant 81.9% of the market between them.

Make of those what you will, but perhaps more interesting is comment from Kantar WorldPanel Comtech themselves about where the new customers are coming from (and where they are not):

“The vast majority of new Android and Apple iOS consumers came from a non-smartphone background. For example in Great Britain 74.9% of iOS and 73.8% of Android’s new customers previously owned a non-smartphone. However there is some switching between the smartphone manufacturers, with 17.3% of new Android customers coming from Symbian, 6.3% from Windows and 1.6% from RIM.

“What is clear is that neither Android nor Apple’s iOS are currently stealing many customers from each other – Symbian, RIM and Windows beware.”

Indeed. More interesting comment comes from the research agency with the less than memorable name and Consumer Insight Director, Dominic Sunnebo:

“Whilst it may seem that Android is moving forward virtually unchallenged in Europe, once you start to dig a little deeper, it can be seen that each country has a very different OS make-up. For example, in the UK,  BlackBerry is responsible for nearly 25% of all Smartphone sales with its customer base increasingly dominated by under 25s and females; while in Germany BlackBerry’s market share is just 3.4%, as the brand is still primarily seen as a business-based device.”

And why is Blackberry so strong in that demographic in the UK? It’s those kids using the Messenger to chat, chat, chat.