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Apple powers ahead in China

News, 03 April 2015

LONDON/SHANGHAI: Apple has dislodged Xiaomi to become the top smartphone manufacturer in urban China where the US tech giant has captured a record 27.6% of the market, a new industry report has found.

Latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, the consumer insights firm, reveal Apple's recently launched iPhone 6 was the best-selling smartphone in the three months ending in February 2015.

The iPhone 6 grew its market share to 10.2%, compared to 9.5% in the three months ending in January. Meanwhile, the iPhone 6 Plus was the third best-selling smartphone in urban China after the iPhone 6 and Xiaomi's Redmi Note.

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"There has been a strong appetite for Apple's products in urban China seen since the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and this has continued into Chinese New Year," explained Carolina Milanesi, head of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

"China Mobile's subscribers accounted for 59% of the 27.6% volume share recorded by iOS in the latest period," she added. "Across key global markets Apple's momentum generally continued from last month, with market share gains in all markets except the US and Japan."

In the US, the iOS share of the market dipped slightly by -0.5% to 38.8% from the same period last year while the share taken by Android devices grew 0.4% to 55.6%.

iOS witnessed a much sharper decline in Japan year-on-year where its market share fell -5.1% to 49.8% at the same time as Android's share grew 3.1% to 47.9%.

However, as Milanesi pointed out, the picture was rosier for iOS in other key markets, especially the UK and Australia.

The mobile platform's market share in the UK increased 8.6% year-on-year to 38.6% while in Australia it grew 4.6% to 38.5%.

Across the five largest economies in Western Europe, Android's share declined by 2.9% year-on-year to 67.6% while iOS rose by exactly the same percentage to 20.9% market share.

As in China, the iPhone 6 was the best-selling smartphone in the UK, but Samsung's Galaxy S5 also gained in popularity, capturing 8.7% of smartphone sales during the reporting period.

Nearly half (48%) of British smartphone buyers said they're attracted to both the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S5 for their reliability and durability, the report added.

A further 48% thought the Galaxy S5 offered a good tariff deal while 44% were attracted by the design of the iPhone 6.

Data sourced from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech; additional content by Warc staff