13 March 2018

Communities Dominate Brands: “Smartphone Stats: Full Year 2017 Top 10, OS Installed Base and everything else you ever wanted”

By the way, for those who ‘hate Apple’ (and please don’t count me into that group…). If you want to see the glass really really less than half full… Apple sales were flat in a year that was flat. Out of the Top 5, all other 4 manufacturers GREW their sales – Samsung by 3%, BBK by 29%, Huawei by 10% and Xiaomi by 70%. Don’t fall into the silly trap to think, that Apple is somehow ‘doing fine’. It is LOSING the battle. Market share down AGAIN and now the reality is starting to come home to various developers, especially in the Emerging World, that actually, all you need is Android. This is EXACTLY the same disaster that hit the Mac world back way before Apple went close to bankruptcy. The believers were finally forced to face reality, that even as the Mac was far superior - as a user interface – to the early Windows – the Windows personal computers were ‘good enough’ and most users wanted the major platform. And then the developers stopped supporting the tiny platform. The Mac OS never had 10% market share. iOS touched twice that, but is headed towards similar levels to ten percent. Currently at 14% and still declining. Now, if Apple ‘wanted to’ – it COULD reverse this decline. But will they do that, or will they just continue to milk the rich users, until the users get fed up with paying the iTax? Who knows. Currently Apple is the richest company in the world. It won’t remain that if it continues to abuse its customers. But still today, iPhone loyalty and customer satisfaction is incredibly strong. Apple has a long time to figure out what it wants. Yet, as I’ve said for years, the mistake of abandoning the future will come back to haunt Apple. Now most sane people see that iOS is a niche market, and only Android is a mass market. I told you so ten years ago…

Tomi Ahonen

A good reminder for people living in Apple’s alternate reality that there’s a whole other world outside their pristine walled garden – a world where Apple is all but irrelevant. Measuring yearly sales is a better way to compare the performance of different manufacturers, considering how the companies release their flagship phones in different quarters.

A recent study also found that Android has better loyalty than iOS among US users, something that will start to erode Apple’s share in their main market.

Top 5 smartphone manufacturers by sales, 2015 to 2017

Another interesting thing to note from these sales numbers is the growing consolidation of market share to the top players. The top 5 companies controlled 57% of the market in 2015, 60% in 2016, growing to almost exactly two thirds last year. The smartphone market is looking more like the PC market with each passing year, with slow growth, longer replacement cycles, split between two operating systems and concentrated in the hands of a small number of manufacturers.

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