Just last year, industry analysts spoke of a duopoly in the smartphone market, with Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone slicing up the market between them. But today, it’s pretty much an Android monopoly, with iPhone market share falling precipitously.
A report from IDC this week paints a clear picture: Handset makers sold 210 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2012, and almost 75 percent of them were running Android. That’s a big year-over-year jump for Android, which owned 57 percent of the market in Q1 2012. But it’s also a big loss for Apple, which dropped from 22.5 percent market share a year ago to 18 percent this past quarter.
Apple is still the number-two maker of smartphones behind Samsung, but that gap has grown, too. Samsung dominates the market with 31 percent market share (up from 27.6 percent in Q1 2012) on 65 million smartphones sold. But Apple’s share of the market has fallen from 22.5 percent a year ago to 18.2 percent, even though unit sales grew to 38 million units. But Apple isn’t just not growing as fast as its biggest competitor, it’s also growing much slower than the overall industry.
“Apple is faced with the challenge of being increasingly dependent on the replacement market as its addressable market is capped,” Gartner’s Anshul Gupta said, suggesting that Apple had plateaued in this market. “The next two quarters will also be challenging, as there are no new products expected to be coming before the third quarter of 2013.”
Apple’s fans like to point out that Apple allegedly controls most of the profits in the smartphone industry. But Apple won’t be able to hold even that distinction for long, according to the source of this data, Cannacord Genuity. The firm says that Samsung’s smartphone profits could surpass those of Apple by the end of the current quarter, erasing one of Apple’s remaining wins.
Further troubling for Apple, Bloomberg reported this week that the firm is leaving several billion potential customers, many in Asia, to competitors because it refuses to lower the exorbitant price of the iPhone, which requires massive subsidies to make it affordable to customers. Two of Asia’s biggest carriers, China Mobile and Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, will not sell the iPhone as a result.
Apple is rumored to be working on a lower-cost iPhone. Today, the company sells two years-old iPhone models next to its latest iPhone version in a bid to attract less affluent customers.