The Most Popular Smartphone Operating Systems Globally

If you're developing apps for smartphones, it makes sense to know how popular each of the main platforms are — especially if you're building apps designed for a specific regional market. Here's how the main contenders rank around the world.

Smartphone picture from Shutterstock

This data comes from Kantar Worldpanel, which conducts ongoing consumer research panels to determine market share. It covers the three months ending in July 2014 and shows percentage of smartphone sales by operating system. We've also shown the percentage change since the same time period last year.

The exact size of the panel isn't specified, but we are told that there were "over one million interviews per year in Europe alone". (So you might want to take smaller market numbers with a slightly larger grain of salt.)

Country Platform Share % Change %
Australia Android 66.5 3.1
  iOS 27 0.1
  Windows 5.7 -1
  Other 0.8 -2.2
USA Android 62.9 11.4
  iOS 30.9 -11.8
  Windows 3.9 0.1
  Other 2.3 0.3
China Android 84.6 8.4
  iOS 13.2 -5.6
  Windows 0.8 -1.5
  Other 1.4 -1.3
Germany Android 82.4 3.8
  iOS 9.5 -1.2
  Windows 6.1 -2
  Other 2 -0.6
UK Android 59.5 2.5
  iOS 28.6 -0.8
  Windows 9.9 2.8
  Other 1.9 -4.7
France Android 75 8.7
  iOS 14.3 0.4
  Windows 8.7 -2.3
  Other 2 -6.8
Italy Android 74 2.5
  iOS 11 -4.9
  Windows 13 5.1
  Other 2 -2.7
Spain Android 87.5 -2.9
  iOS 6.2 0.4
  Windows 4.8 3.2
  Other 1.5 -0.7
Mexico Android 80.6 17.6
  iOS 4.6 -4.6
  Windows 5.9 -3.6
  Other 8.9 -9.4

There's no market where Android doesn't dominate, though the percentage varies. You wouldn't expect iPhone sales to be as high in this period, however, as many buyers hold off waiting for late-year iPhone updates.

While figures vary a lot between markets, overwhelmingly the two platforms that matter remain Android and iOS. If you're only serving one of these, you're doing yourself no favours as a developer.


Comments

    You wouldn't expect iPhone sales to be as high in this period, however, as many buyers hold off waiting for late-year iPhone updates.

    I dont see how a new release of the Iphone will provide more market share for Apple at this point in time, most already have smartphones and will be upgrading their existing Iphone. Also I though this chart was a representation of the active users on each OS and not the sales number.

      Maybe it's just complete coincidence but I seem to only ever see these reports at this time of the year and that excuse is always used for low iPhone %.

    And yet we get told that there's no Android version of things because demand isn't high enough / it's not economically viable / some other excuse. Pah!

      Its not cause demand is not high enough.
      Fragmentation, User Experience and lack of willingness of Android users to pay for apps is why I don't develop for it .

        The extent to which fragmentation is a problem varies enormously depending on the type of app you are developing. Games, for example, seem to be much more prone to problems than apps which are less dependent on OpenGLES.
        In terms of user experience, I think Android is sufficiently developed (4.0.x+) to be able to provide a quite solid user experience, and Google has the 'designer' section of the site specifically to address UX and design issues. There are certainly UX things you can do with Android that you can't do with iOS (e.g. having apps read notifications of other apps to read them out loud - e.g. Dragon, previously VLingo - and using accessibility features for adding additional interactivity features like advanced autotype). Some of that will probably change with iOS 8 though.
        The issue of 'willingness-to-pay' is a real one, it seems. iOS users are simply more willing to buy apps than Android users. However, I suspect that as the Android market share of premium devices increases, then that trend will change. Overall, Android has a lot of low-end devices, and the users of those devices may well have lower disposable incomes (hence the purchase of a low-end phone). iOS doesn't have that bottom end, so a greater proportion of users are prospective buyers for an app. If people are abandoning iPhones for HTC One and Galaxy S5 devices, then the average Android user will shift to having higher disposable income. At that point, you'll probably be hoping you have an Android app ready.

        Not developing things that I intend to charge for, and the need to pay for an annual developer account with Apple is why I don't write apps for iOS. (That, and what I do tends to be delving into the OS guts anyway).

        Last edited 01/09/14 10:58 pm

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