Apple reported blowout iPhone sales for the December quarter with 74.5 million units sold. Keep in mind that this is just over 1% of the Earth’s entire population (7.3 billion) buying 34,097 iPhones per hour every hour for the quarter.
Apple’s blowout results were due to a combination of iPhone users “normal” upgrades and/or wanting the larger screen formats and Android switchers.
This has led to some large market share gains in the December quarter, which Counterpoint Research, IDC and Strategy Analytics picked up in their quarterly surveys. (Note that I own Apple shares).
Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) has surveyed 500 US Apple customers each quarter since 2012. Mike Levin, Partner and CIRP Co-Founder wrote “In the last three ‘launch’ quarters, meaning the first full quarter after a new iPhone model launch, Android users have accounted for roughly the same share of new iPhone buyers,”
He added “Apple CEO Tim Cook indicated the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus ‘experienced the highest Android switcher rate in any of the last three launches.’ The US switch rate for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch did increase relative to the iPhone 5S/5C launch a year ago, and was about the same as the iPhone 5 launch in 2012. Apple emphasized the international strength of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch, so it appears that Apple enjoyed a much higher rate of Android switching outside the US than in the more mature US market.”
Source: Consumer Intelligence Research Partners
Kantar surveys smartphone users in nine of the largest smartphone markets worldwide and averages the market share results over a three month timeframe. Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia, wrote “While Xiaomi remained the bestselling brand in China during the latest period, Apple was able to close the gap slightly, growing its share to 21.5% from 19% last year.” Almost a quarter of Chinese consumers who bought an iPhone in the past three months were acquiring their first smartphone, compared to 16.5% for the same period in 2013.”
China: 19.0% in Dec. 2013 to 18.1% in Nov. 2014 to 21.5% in Dec. 2014
Japan: 68.7% in Dec. 2013 to 53.8% in Nov. 2014 to 60.2% in Dec. 2014
France: 20.2% in Dec. 2013 to 20.8% in Nov. 2014 to 23.0% in Dec. 2014
Italy: 12.8% in Dec. 2013 to 17.0% in Nov. 2014 to 18.3% in Dec. 2014
Spain: 6.8% in Dec. 2013 to 9.7% in Nov. 2014 to 12.9% in Dec. 2014
Apple’s share leveled off in the US, Germany and Great Britain
Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech wrote “As the opportunity to attract first-time smartphone buyers in developed economies diminishes, retaining loyal customers is becoming as important as winning them over from competing platforms,” Milanesi concluded. “Apple’s average customer loyalty of 87% across the US and Europe certainly looks promising.” While Samsung might be feeling some pressure its brand loyalty remains by far the strongest within the Android ecosystem with an average of 62% across the US and big European markets.
Apple’s share remained essentially flat from November to December:
Note: The chart is a bit disjointed since it was on two separate pages in Kantar’s report.