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Beyond Apple v Samsung: Smartphone market grows in line with device manufacturer competition

Strategy Analytics released their latest handset shipments data last week. One of the key findings was that Apple's market share continues to be challenged by Android based handsets. This is something that is echoed in DeviceAtlas' index of device traffic, which combines data from dotMobi's DeviceAtlas device detection solution and dotMobi's global network of goMobi (now discontinued) websites to measure which handsets are actually being used to access web content on tablets and phones. We have stressed that this is device usage data and not the same thing as device shipment data, but it is interesting nonetheless to compare these metrics.

DeviceAtlas device usage data shows that of 101 countries across the world where we are tracking usage via device detection, iOS devices only dominated browsing in 34 countries, Android in 67. And while iOS devices account for larger proportions of browsing in 'westernized' countries like the UK (65.26%), the US (62.72%), and Canada (73.47%), DeviceAtlas data showed significant usage of Samsung devices with six out of the top ten most popular connected devices in the US and seven out of the top ten in Brazil being Samsung devices. Strategy Analytics points to a slight decline in Samsung's market share (from 32% to 31%) comparing Q1 2014 to the previous year.

Notably, the analyst attributes this trend to increased pressure from emerging Chinese handset manufacturers such as Huawei, Xiaomi and ZTE whose presence DeviceAtlas also noted in the Chinese market. Strategy Analytics also noted that Apple does not have an offering at the lower price tiers that could compete with the plethora of Android based devices available at cheaper price points, a pattern seen in DeviceAtlas' device usage data where Apple devices rank highly in wealthier nations browsing habits.

For the record, Strategy Analytics say that Apple shipped 43.7 million iPhones in Q1 2014 taking a 15% of the global market, down 2% from Q1 2013. Global smartphone shipments grew by 33% annually to reach 285 million units in Q1. The pie continues to get bigger but the amount of players continues to grow.