Android Switchers Pushing iPhone Growth in Europe

Apple's iPhone has fared less well in Europe than in other markets, but that appears to be changing, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. The research firm published a report claiming that users switching from Android to iPhone are driving growth for Apple in Europe's five largest economies: Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

“In the first quarter of 2015, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus continued to attract consumers across Europe, including users who previously owned an Android smartphone,” Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar, said in a statement. “On average, across Europe's big five countries during the first quarter, 32.4% of Apple’s new customers switched to iOS from Android.”

Kantar said that Apple's share in Europe grew to 20.3 percent in the first quarter of 2015, up from 18.5 percent in in the year ago period. Android remains the top smartphone platform in Europe with 68.4 percent of the market, down 3.1 percent year over year.

Apple itself reported a record March quarter for iPhone sales, with 61.2 million units sold. The company cited increased sales in Europe and particularly good performance in emerging markets.

In one of those markets—China—Kantar's numbers support Apple's claim. The firm reported that Apple's share grew from 17.9 percent to 26.1 percent during the March quarter.

Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia, said, “Thirty-eight percent of iPhone buyers were recommended an Apple device by someone they know, while 23% recall seeing an ad."

In the U.S., Apple had 36.5 percent of the market, while Android gad 58.1 percent. Apple remained the top hardware vendor, while Samsung remained second. Kantar also noted that iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus represent 18 percent of all iPhones used in the U.S. 64 percent of Apple's installed user base is on an iPhone 5 or newer.

Carolina Milanesi characterized that as, "Good news for the Apple Watch that interacts only with these newer models.”

Kantar's interactive chart for worldwide numbers: