LONDON: More than half of all mobile phone users in Europe's five biggest markets now possess a smartphone, according to new figures from comScore, the insights provider.

It reported that 54.6% of the mobile audience in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK boasted gadgets like Apple's iPhone or alternatives powered by Google's Android operating system, in October.

This constituted an improvement from 41.6% a year earlier, equivalent to growth from 97.7m to 131.5m users on an annual basis.

Within this, uptake levels peaked at 63.2% in Spain, a jump of 14.8 percentage points during the last 12 months. A 63.2% share of British mobile users also owned such gadgets, up by 14.2 percentage points.

France claimed third position on this metric, with 51.4% of the mobile population possessing these handsets, ahead of 51.2% in Italy, increasing from 38.1% and 42.1% in turn in October 2011.

As such, Germany was the only featured country where smartphone penetration fell below the 50% mark. In all, a 48.4% share of users had acquired a smartphone, up from 34.2% year on year.

Focusing specifically on the UK, the study revealed that 46.6% of the smartphone community had a handset powered by Google's Android operating system, compared with 34.2% a year previously.

Apple's iOS logged a leap of 1.5 percentage points on an annual basis to 28%, while Research in Motion was down by 2.5 percentage points to 15.2%.

Symbian, utilised by Nokia devices, registered a slide of 10.8 percentage during the same period to 6.4%, while Microsoft's Windows operating system was on 3.1%, up by a modest 0.5 percentage points.

Apple retained its lead in terms of manufacturers in the UK on 28%, topping Samsung on 24%, Research in Motion on 15.2%, HTC on 15% and Nokia on 7.9%.

Data sourced from comScore; additional content by Warc staff