Global Smartphone Market a "Duopoly" with iOS & Android at 92%

Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android combined to take over 92 percent of the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to a report Monday from Strategy Analytics. Android, which is available on a multitude of devices from many manufacturers, secured a commanding 70.1 percent of the Q4 2012 global smartphone market, while Apple’s limited range of iPhones accounted for 22 percent, leaving just 7.9 percent to competing platforms.

The smartphone market overall grew 38 percent year-over-year for the fourth quarter of 2012, with 217 million units shipped. For the year, shipments reached 700.1 million units worldwide, up significantly from the 490.5 million smartphones shipped in 2011.

Apple, although firmly in second place, lost market share as a percentage of shipments year-over-year. The Cupertino company’s iOS took 23.6 percent of the 2011 global smartphone market in Q4 2011, compared to 22 percent in Q4 2012.

Global Smartphone Shipments Android Apple 2011-2012

Android dominated the industry in terms of shipment market share, reaching 70.1 percent in Q4 2012 from 51.3 percent in Q4 2011. The Google-backed OS took shipment share from both Apple and all others, with “Others” falling from 25.1 percent of shipments in Q4 2011 to just 7.9 percent in Q4 2012.

Global Smartphone Sales Apple Android 2011 2012

Neil Mawston, Executive Director for Strategy Analytics, summarized the results of the study:

We estimate 152.1 million Android smartphones were shipped globally in Q4 2012, nearly doubling from 80.6 million units in Q4 2011. Android’s share of the global smartphone market has surged from 51 percent to 70 percent over the past year, crushing Symbian, Bada and other platforms in its wake. Almost half-a-billion Android smartphones were shipped in total worldwide during 2012. Android is clearly the undisputed volume leader of the smartphone industry at the present time. Android’s challenge for 2013 will be to defend its leadership, not only against Apple, but also against an emerging wave of hungry challengers that includes Microsoft, Blackberry, Firefox and Tizen...

Apple and Android accounted for a record 92 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally in the fourth quarter of 2012. The worldwide smartphone industry has effectively become a duopoly as consumer demand has polarized around mass-market Android models and premium Apple designs.

While Apple continues to increase shipments as the market grows overall – the company shipped 10.8 million more iPhones in Q4 2012 than it did in Q4 2011 – Android is gaining users at a pace that Apple and other platforms cannot match.

It should be noted, however, that the Strategy Analytics report evaluates shipments and not necessarily sales. Under the method that Apple uses to sell its products, nearly every shipment is also a sale to an end user. For Android manufacturers, who do not always sell directly to customers, not every shipment can be considered a sale, and actual usage share for the two platforms is different from shipment share. While this indicates that Apple performs better in a usage share analysis, the overwhelming shipment share enjoyed by Android likely results in a smaller, but still large usage share lead for the platform.

[via 9to5Mac]