Apple's smartphone sales have risen following the release of the iPhone 5S and 5C. But its rivals have chipped away at the company's longer-term market share, according to market researcher Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
Looking at the global smartphone market for the three months ending November 2013, Kantar found that Apple's share had dropped in almost all regions compared with the same period in 2012. During that stretch, the iPhone's market share fell by 9.9 percent in the US, by 6.5 percent in the European Union Five, and by 1.5 percent in China.
In most of the regions covered, Apple took second place behind Android. Only in Japan was Apple on top with a 69.1 percent share versus Android's 30 percent share. Both Android and Windows Phone saw gains in market share across most regions during the year-long period.
"While there's no doubt that sales of the iPhone 5S and 5C have been strong, resurgent performances from LG, Sony, and Nokia have made making year-on-year share gains increasingly challenging for Apple," Kantar Strategic Insight Director Dominic Sunnebo said in a statement released Monday. "Windows Phone, for example, is now the third-largest OS across Europe with 10 percent -- more than double its share compared with last year."
Windows Phone has done well in Europe, but it continues to struggle in other major areas, according to Kantar. Its US market share rose by 2.1 percent over the period ending November 2013, but its share in China remained flat.
"You don't have to conquer China and the US to win in the smartphone market, but you do need success in one of them," Sunnebo said. "At the moment there are few signs of progress in either country for Windows Phone, and momentum needs to be made soon before OS loyalty severely limits the available market."
Windows Phone handset maker Nokia could fare better in China by selling phones at the right price to the huge number of consumers who have limited budgets, Sunnebo added. But with Microsoft taking over Nokia's handset division, the focus is likely to remain on the US market.
Kantar derives its data through interviews of mobile phone owners and by tracking mobile phone purchases.
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