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iOS vs Android market share across the whole of 2016

James Kielty - 13 Apr 2017
4 min read

Gartner recently reported that 99.6% of smartphones sold today either use Android or iOS. While this figure clearly reflects that mobile OS fragmentation is over, it doesn’t tell you which of these two OSes is most in use today. Here are the latest statistics on iOS vs Android market share based on web traffic across the whole of 2016.

iPhones have a longer lifespan but Android sells better

In the latest Mobile Web Report for Q4 2016 we reported that even very old iPhone models are still active, including iPhone 2G, 3G and 3GS. We understand this is caused by the fact that iPhones are high-end devices with hardware that was high-end at the time of release, and this is what extends their lifespan. Their resale value is relatively high, and, at the same time, they can handle typical tasks smoothly for a relatively long time. The same can’t be said about all Android devices, especially in low and mid-range categories.

But does it mean iOS has more market share than Android? According to Gartner, Android had 81.7% market share in Q4 2016, while iOS’ share was at 17.9%. Android devices generally sell much better, which may be partially driven by cost-conscious societies in Asia with many first-time smartphone buyers.

In terms of web traffic, Android is ahead iOS in most countries, however, there are many local markets where Apple’s OS gets the largest share, especially among developed countries. About a year ago, we analyzed how both OSes fared in terms of website visits throughout the whole of 2015. We reported that 2015 was worse for Android than for iOS in terms of web traffic. Google’s OS lost in some major markets, including Germany (-8%), the USA (-4.68%), and France (-3.65%).

Below we focus on the latest data covering four quarters of 2016 which help you analyze the difference between the two leading OSes and also better understand the trends in 2016.

Android and iOS across the whole of 2016

In terms of web traffic share, 2016 was a much better year for Android than the same period two years ago. According to DeviceAtlas statistics, at the end of 2016 Android was the most used mobile OS in 42 countries, compared to 14 countries for iOS among those we analyzed in the Q4 2016 report.

Between Q1 2016 and Q4 2016 Android gained some share in 9 countries out of 10 we selected for this article, including USA (+6.1%), UK (+4.2%), and Germany (+4%). At the same time, iOS lost ground in 9 countries and only grew in Japan (+2.9%).

Android web traffic share Q1 2016 - Q4 2016:


iOS web traffic share Q1 2016 - Q4 2016:


Leading mobile OSes: Q4 2015 vs Q4 2016

For this article, we also did a quick quarter-to-quarter analysis comparing Q4 2015 and Q4 2016. The last three-month period in 2016, which includes the lucrative holiday season, was a lot better for Android, given that it increased its share in many large markets where it lost in 2015, such as USA and France.

Gains in web traffic share (Q4 2015 vs Q4 2016):

Android (change in traffic share) iOS (change in traffic share)
Argentina +26% Indonesia +34%
Belgium +11% Austria +15%
Italy +10.4% South Korea +7%
France +10.2% Thailand +5%
USA +6.5% Switzerland +2.5%

Losses in web traffic share (Q4 2015 vs Q4 2016):

Android (change in traffic share) iOS (change in traffic share)
Indonesia -23.6% Argentina -15.6%
Austria -15% Belgium -8.7%
South Korea -9% France -8.7%
Egypt -2.2% Italy -6.5%
Switzerland -1.4% USA -5.7%

Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS market share

Are there any other players in today's mobile OS landscape? Gartner reported recently that in Q4 2016, BlackBerry OS hit 0.0% market share, while for Windows it was a pitiful 0.3%. Of course, these stats reflect the dwindling sales of other OSes but not necessarily their web traffic share. Both BlackBerry and Windows had a significant share in Q4 2016 in many countries including the ones listed in the table below.

BlackBerry OS and Windows Phone market share in Q4 2016:

Country Windows Phone's share of web traffic   Country BlackBerry OS' share of web traffic
Argentina 7%   Nigeria 9.8%
Uruguay 7%   South Africa 6.8%
Vietnam 6.2%   Venezuela 2.2%
Poland 6%   South Korea 1.7%
Nigeria 5%   Indonesia 1.6%
Greece 4.3%   Norway 1%
Pakistan 4%   Canada 0.8%
India 3.4%   Poland 0.4%
Italy 3.4%   France 0.3%
UK 2.4%   Germany 0.3%

Looking for more stats on the mobile landscape? Have a look at other articles covering the latest statistics based on real life web traffic:

  • Most popular smartphone makers
  • Android versions market share
  • The most used smartphone screen resolutions
  • The most used smartphone screen sizes

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