Apple's iPhones are losing ground in Europe as consumers increasingly opt for Android and Windows Phone handsets, according to researchers.
Analysts with Kantar Worldpanel ComTech found that over the third quarter of this year, Apple saw its share of the market in Germany, France, and the UK decline over the same period in 2012, a sign that the release of the iPhone 5s and 5c failed to attract consumers as did the launch of the iPhone 5.
According to the researchers, Apple's overall share of the European market shrank on the quarter from 20.8 per cent to 15.8 per cent. Meanwhile, Android saw its share of the market climb to 70.9 per cent and Windows Phone reeled in a 10.2 per cent share of the market, up from just 4.8 per cent for the previous year's quarter.
The news isn't all bad for Cupertino, however. "In almost all markets, the iPhone 5s and 5c releases have given iOS a significant bounce compared to the previous month," commented Kantar Worldpanel ComTech strategic insight director Dominic Sunnebo.
"Generally, Apple's share of the market still remains lower than when the iPhone 5 was released, although this is not wholly unexpected as shoppers tend to react more positively to 'full' releases than incremental improvements such as the 5s and 5c," Sunnebo said.
The 5C, designed by Apple to serve as a budget-priced complement to the more expensive iPhone 5 and 5s lines, has failed to catch on in a big way with British consumers. Researchers believe that in the UK the iPhone 5s still outsells the 5c by three to one.
Elsewhere, however, researchers see the 5c having an interesting effect on Apple's normally affluent customer base. In the US, researchers found that iPhone 5c buyers tended to have lower household incomes as 41 per cent of buyers netted less than $49,000 per year. By comparison, just 21 per cent of iPhone 5s buyers had similar incomes.
The iPhone 5c is also apparently drawing in older customers as well. Analysts estimate that the average age of the iPhone 5c buyer is 38 years old compared to 34 years for the average 5s owner. Nearly half of all 5c owners are also converts from Android handsets.
Meanwhile, Microsoft appeared to be the big winner during the quarter, as it saw its market share in Europe climb to double digits. With that growth, however, come warnings from analysts that much of the gain is coming from a rather limited subset of the market.
"Momentum for Windows Phone is continuing, although its growth remains reliant on low-end handsets," commented Sunnebo.
"In Britain, almost three quarters of Nokia Lumia sales in the latest period were low-end devices such as the Lumia 520 and 620 – a pattern that is similar across other EU markets." ®