Austerity drive towards iPhone 4 helps boost Apple market share in UK

Budget phones are driving smartphone sales more than ever in the UK as our austerity drive continues. 

New figures show that Apple has regained lost ground against Android thanks to strong sales of the iPhone 4 in Britain, while Nokia is also enjoying sales of the lower-end smartphones even though it’s the flagship models that get all the press.

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech analysed the UK smartphone market for the last three months to June 2013 and found that Apple's iPhone now accounts for 30.5 per cent of the British smartphone market - up 5.2 per cent in the last 90 days - thanks to strong sales of the Apple iPhone 4 from first-time buyers.

"Although the flagship iPhone 5 was widely credited with boosting Apple’s global results last week, much of the market share growth for iOS in Britain is thanks to the competitively priced iPhone 4 attracting first time smartphone buyers," says Dominic Sunnebo, global strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. 

"More than a third of iPhone 4’s sold were to consumers who have never owned a smartphone before, compared with just one in 10 new customers buying the iPhone 5." 

Likewise Windows Phone and in particular Nokia is also seeing strong growth, although at a much slower rate. Windows Phone now represents 8.6 per cent of the UK smartphone market, according to the figures. 

"While flagship Windows handsets such as the Nokia 925 and HTC 8X grab the headlines, it is the low and mid-range models, such as the Nokia Lumia 520 and 620, which are quietly driving its momentum. It is vital for Windows to be seen as a mainstream alternative to Android and iOS rather than a niche platform," says Sunnebo.

"Selling large volumes of lower-end smartphones is a good way of getting Windows seen in the hands of potential customers' friends and family, convincing them there isn’t a risk in choosing the operating system. The majority of people are trend followers, not trend setters, so Windows needs to get as many smartphones to market as quickly as possible."

However both operating systems pale in comparison to Android's market share, now up to 56.2 per cent in the UK as the might of Samsung, HTC, Sony, and others continue to dominate sales with a range of budget handsets on offer.

In Europe, Android's dominance is even stronger. Android accounts for almost 70 per cent of the market.

Sadly for BlackBerry, it seems the shift to high-end BlackBerry 10 devices couldn't have come at a worse time. It's fails to even register in the report with less than 5 per cent market share.