Android Leads in Operating System Share

Android and iOS Capture Windows, Blackberry, and Basic Phone Buyers

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) released results of its research on mobile phone operating systems for the calendar quarter that ended March 31, 2014. This analysis features findings about consumer trends in mobile phone operating systems from January-March 2014.

CIRP finds that Google's Android operating system had a somewhat greater share of mobile phone activations than Apple's iOS in the quarter. Android accounted for 53% of mobile phone operating system buyers, while iOS was at 42% (see chart). Windows, Blackberry, and non-smartphones each accounted for less than 3% of activations in this sample.

Operating System Share of Activations

In a quarter without any significant phone launch, more buyers chose Android phones than iOS. It increased its share considerably over the previous quarter, when it had only 46% of activations. iOS share of activations fell from 48% in the previous quarter, the first full quarter with iPhone 5S and 5C sales.

CIRP also analyzed shifts among operating systems. On that basis, both iOS and Android gained customers from other platforms. For customers who activated a phone in the quarter, Android grew from 43% share of those customers at the beginning of the quarter to 53% at the end.

Similarly, iOS grew from 30% of this buying population at the beginning of the quarter to 42% at the end. While Windows and Blackberry lost some share among this quarter's phone buyers, the bulk came from basic phones. At the beginning of the quarter, 20% of these phone buyers had basic phones, but non-smartphones had only 3% of the total share of phones during the quarter.

Operating System Share at Start and End of Quarter

On a percentage bases during the quarter, iOS grew a little faster than Android, from a smaller base, even though in absolute terms Android had a larger share. The long term issue is where Android and IOS growth will come from when there are no more basic phones being retired. First time smartphone buyers are key to that equation.

CIRP bases its findings on a survey of 500 US subjects, from April 1-6, 2014, that activated a new or used phone in the January - March 2014 period.

For additional information, please contact CIRP.