Posted by:Monica Samuel November 19th, 2012

Reports of 2012 Q3 results for smartphone and tablet sales are pouring in. According to Gartner’s numbers, Q3 saw Android smartphone sales on a global scale surge ahead of iPhones with a 72% market share. However, according to a report released by Kantar Worldwide, iPhone’s market share in the US surpassed that of Android with 48.1% versus 46.7%, primarily because of iPhone 5 sales. This result is despite the fact that iPhone 5 was released towards the end of Q3 and Apple also faced supply constraints for a few weeks.

However, with holiday sales on the radar, the true picture will be revealed in Q4 of 2012. Manufacturers typically wait for the holiday season to maximize sales with discounts, offers and promos. Carriers too come up with deals that encourage smartphone and tablet buyers to replace their old gadgets with shiny new ones. All brands released towards the end of August will now prove their mettle.

In Europe though, Apple’s smartphones only account for 21% of sales compared to Android’s 64% share. Samsung Galaxy S3 was responsible for almost a quarter of Germany’s smartphone sales over the past 12 weeks, making Android’s position even stronger. Windows Phone share has also surpassed single digits there at 11.7% with the sales of Nokia Lumia 610 and Nokia Lumia 800.

Android versus Apple in the Enterprise

According to IDC reports, the ownership of Android smartphones versus iPhone is not consistent across enterprises. In organizations where employees use personally owned smartphones for work, Android is clearly leading with 87 million versus Apple’s 33 million. On the other hand, where smartphones are corporate owned Apple leads with 33 million while Android’s share falls to 15 million.

Clearly, enterprises place their trust in iPhone’s enterprise security features versus Android, even though Google is taking steps to reinforce its OS now. Other incentives for corporate heads include the availability of mature productivity apps on Apple’s App Store and the ability to customize proprietary apps for iPhones.

Branding and loyalty

An important factor that will play its part in the Android versus iOS scrimmage is the brand loyalty of consumers. According to Kantar’s report, 92% of existing iPhone customers plan to go in for a higher version of iPhone later. In fact, as per iPhone 5 sale numbers, 62% buyers were existing iPhone owners while 13% switched from Android, 6% were BlackBerry device owners and there were also a ‘small number of first time smartphone owners.’

In contrast, only 47% of Android owners plan to replace their phone with another Android, according to a study by Piper Jaffray.

Darcy Travlos from Forbes gives interesting insights into why current market shares don’t really matter. Apple and Google are both gaining share in the smartphone and tablet space, squeezing out RIM and Nokia in the bargain. There is a shift in momentum but it’s all for the good of consumers. As Apple continues to innovate and refine its higher range portfolio, Android offers other players the opportunity to replicate these features in devices at a lower price point. Travlos goes so far to say that the two giants may in fact reinforce each other as both have sound strategies in place.

What do you think?

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