As the Guardian‘s Charles Arthur points out, market share is a very different thing to installed user-base. The highly-detailed piece is worth reading in full, but the take-out is the bottom graph. That’s what the real world of U.S. smartphone users looks like. Or, to put it in two sentences …

Here’s the reality: at the time this was written, more than 40% of the smartphones in use in the US [...] were iPhones. Only about 51% of the smartphones in peoples’ hands in the US are Android phones.

Smartphone adoption as a whole has grown at a rapid rate, and within that iOS and Android have, in the U.S. (and many other developed markets, I’m sure) grown at pretty much the same rate, with a rather modest gap between them.

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25 Responses to “iOS/Android market share vs. installed base visualized”

  1. macsoto says:

    I’m really getting tired of 9to5 re-posting every article they find on the web. Why not spend some time+money (that’s probably why)and do some research of your own and present us with your own findings?

    I understand this is a rumor-site, but you guys have been around for a while now and are starting to fall behind to some of the other sites… investigative reporting/rumoring is also appreciated.

    Best of luck!

  2. You are comparing Apples (pun intended) to oranges. 80 percent is the global market, not U.S. market. Nice try at Apple fanboyism.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      I think you didn’t quite follow: you won’t find that 80 percent user base *anywhere* outside China.

      • macsoto says:

        Ben, no offense but that’s not what your “article” says.Your title makes reference to an 80% market share and you clearly talk about the US market: “That’s what the real world of U.S. smartphone users looks like.” You tell us to read the article from the Guardian, which in turn talks about how the 80% market share has to be understood in context. (Great Guardian article btw).

        Also, where in your article do you talk about China?

        Ps. @Frances: not apple fanboyism – just bad reporting

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        No, the title very specifically talks about the market, not market share. And while I indeed talk about the US market, Europe is going to look very similar. As I say, you’d need to go to China to see an installed user base anything like 80 percent.

      • macsoto says:

        “No, the title very specifically talks about the market, not market share.” okay… so the article is about the market… not about the market share

        “And while I indeed talk about the US market, Europe is going to look very similar.” Not disputing any of this with you, you just fail to say so in the article. Your article talks about the US market and then you add your opinion/conclusion at the end, which in turn is not based on data but just your assumptions “(and many other developed markets, I’m sure)”.

        “As I say, you’d need o go to China to see an installed user base anything like 80 percent.”
        Where do you say so? In the comments section?

        Ben, I love 9to5 and just want it to be better – if your article is so well written, then why so much confusion? Look at all the explaining you have had to do so far in the comments section.

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        The piece is effectively a headline fact and pointer to the detailed article which I recommend people read.

      • iOS is radically declining in Europe – iOS loses about 6 % every year, now iOS has a market share of 18 to 19 % in Europe. Windows Phone has 5 to 10 % (very different in different countries).
        The rest is Android. RIM never played a role in Europe…
        That would roughly give you a 75 % market share of Android in Europe for 2013. In 2014 it will be over 80 %.

      • macsoto says:

        Goo to see you edited the headline and piece. Glad you take readers’ comments into consideration

      • sesivany says:

        Europe is very different from the U.S. In my country, the Android sales got over 80 percent recently. And it’s very similar in other European countries. Yes, sales for some given time are not user basis, but in long term they correlate very much. And Android has been outselling iOS in Europe for quite a long time already.
        BTW making global assumptions based on U.S. stats is pretty much as incorrect as confusing market share and user basis. The pot calling the kettle black.

    • Tallest Skil says:

      Why not go find another website to be an idiot on.

      • Robert Nixon says:

        Somebody ban this troll, please. This guy never has anything to contribute and seems to have a proclivity for dishing out unwarranted insults.

      • Tallest Skil says:

        Or maybe you could not spew FUD about Apple on an Apple website. Seems easier, doesn’t it?

        Step 1: Stop being an idiot.
        Step 2: Post things that aren’t lies.


  3. Angel Diaz says:

    80% represented by Android should not mean a big deal for Apple worldwide. As the post says, 40% is represented in the US which is a high percentage even tho’ his OS is only used in one type of phone (Iphone) and Android is installed even in microwaves (remember the lack of updates for low and mid end devices).

    *Sorry for any grammar error, English is not my native language.

  4. jlword says:

    Hi Ben:
    I believe that your point is gravely misdirected. The actual statistic is that Android has an 80% share of the GLOBAL market which of course is an average of ALL markets android is shipped to including the US. The stat from the IDC of Android’s 80% share of the market is not US specific. It must be remembered that all of these mobile platforms (WP, iOS and Android) are competing globally and to have a global perspective of any of the platforms performance shaped by the limiting perception of ones home markets and reporting from that limiting perspective presents a sourly inaccurate picture. To take that percentage and attempt to squeeze it into the context of US market share and present it as a point to pull the wind out of the sails of the actual stat that you are not really addressing (80% global share of Android) is either poor research, dishonesty – poor journalistic integrity.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      I think you’re still not seeing the difference between market share and installed user-base.

    • I think you’re kind of missing the point here. Market share is, at best, kind of a cousin to the rate of change of how many devices are out there on each platform. It’s not enough data by itself to tell what share of each device represents of those in use (installed user base), nor is it by itself enough to say how the installed user base is changing. The article shows an example from the UK where a reduction in market share coincided with an actual increase in the absolute (not relative) increase in the difference between numbers iPad and Android tablets actually in use.

      To sum up the linked article in one sentence: market share is simply the share of devices sold within a specific time frame and doesn’t say anything about how many devices were sold during that period or how many devices were out there in use at the beginning and end of the period.

      Or, to sum it up in a aphorism: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

  5. Who cares about marketshare? Once Apple enters phablet market, we will see who is wining. Right now iPhone 5S is best 4″ size smartphone. Time for Apple to launch 2 flagship phones. One will be less than 5″, other one could be ~5.5″.

  6. There’s a very important difference between ‘market share’ (the % of devices shipped in a given period, usually a quarter); and ‘installed base’ (the % of devices in use). If something has a larger market share than installed base, it can be for various reasons, mainly one of: a) it’s gaining share rapidly, against something which previously was dominant; or b) it has a more rapid replacement cycle than its competitors (e.g. if average life of the device is less than other devices).

    I don’t think most people get this, usually, and instead default to ‘market share’ as an accurate representation of devices in use. The even better example of this is with Macs and their share of the PC market. Macs last longer than Windows PCs, on average (which they should, as they cost more); the low ‘market share’ for Mac shipments each quarter (or even each calendar year) underestimates the actual % of installed base which Macs represent (especially in the US, and especially since 2012 when Mac users have been shifting their discretionary spending to iPads instead of replacing those Macs – but not replacing those Macs with Windows PCs, in the most part).

  7. Until we get companies to consistently report sell-in figures these numbers are meaningless. Case in point Gartner and IDC coming up with completely different stats on PC sales last quarter. Gartner claims Apple grew 28%, IDC says they were down 7.5%. Totally meaningless when you don’t have actual sales figures to rely on. Estimates based on supply chain chatter or surveys to resellers isn’t accurate enough.

  8. You know I really don’t give a rat’s posterior about “Market share” “installed base” etc. All I know is after using Samsung phones for years, the latest being a Galaxy S3 that I absolutely hated, I finally have an iPhone that I love. For every individual user, “it’s all about me,” and not what the installed base in China is. So could all of you Apple vs. Android battlers of either persuasion please get past this. If have an Android and you’re happy clap your hands but I don’t need to hear about it.