appleKantar Worldpanel ComTech has just released its worldwide smartphone sales figures for the first quarter of 2014, with some (moderately) encouraging news for Apple, especially in the light of the not-so-encouraging breakdown in their figures for the previous quarter, as well as some similarly discouraging reporting from IDC. In Japan particularly, the iPhone accounted for 42 percent of sales on leading local network NTT DoCoMo, 59 percent on KDDI AU and 81 percent on Softbank.

Elsewhere, however, Apple is not looking so rosy. Kantar notes 70.7 percent market share for Android across the five key European markets of the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, while Android penetration in China stands at 80 percent. Also, Android grew its China market share by 8.1 percent over the past 12 months, while the Apple market share shrank 5.4 percent to 17.9 percent.

“Japan’s love affair with Apple shows no sign of fading,” said Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “The success of the iPhone is also filtering through to the iPad, with almost a quarter of Japanese iPhone owners also owning an iPad. With smartphone penetration in Japan lagging well behind Europe and the US, Japan will remain a key growth market for Apple.”

How much difference that can make to Apple’s prospects outside Japan is another matter. China’s huge population and far faster-growing economy makes it a much more lucrative destination, and Android is apparently extending its commanding lead there.



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