Global Smartphone Vendor Market Share and OS Installed Base Statistics

I’ve updated our global smartphone statistics and installed base estimates up to Q1 2014. There are several important observations to call out in the following graphs.

First, let’s take a look at the market share of each smartphone vendor going back to Q4 2009.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 6.28.19 PM

The first major observation is what has happened to Nokia. As you look at the graph, you notice the shift in share from Nokia to Samsung. As we all know, Samsung “fast followed” Nokia and the graph tells the rest of the story. The second major observation is how Apple has maintained their share of the market and is holding steady each quarter going between 15-20%.

Another important observation is what happened when Chinese consumers started joining the smartphone conversation. As you can see the ramp in China happened around the end of 2011. At that point you see the local Chinese vendors like ZTE, Huawei, Coolpad, and eventually Xiaomi (Mi) helped make our chart (and the world) more colorful/competitive.

Let’s see how this looks from the volume shipments of the same vendors over time.

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What this chart does a good job of showing is the overall growth of the smartphone market in terms of volume.

If you recall from the first graph we saw most of Nokia’s market share go to Samsung. What this graph points out is the size of the scale Samsung reached. While their share of the market basically swapped, Samsung’s volumes were significantly larger than Nokia’s ever were. This graph shows Samsung’s steady and persistent growth when it comes to volume. Where Apple and others see pretty seasonal Q4 spikes, Samsung has stayed relatively steady.

Another important point about this slide is to look what happens when the China smartphone market began to ramp. As we see China coming online, we observe the rise of local Chinese manufacturers who begin moving enough volume to get them out of the “other” category and to be tracked as a vendor. Most notable should be Xiaomi. Xiaomi started selling phones in the third quarter of 2011 and by the end of 2012 were moving enough quarterly volume to get on our radar. Now after the first quarter of 2014 they are nipping on the heels of every other local Chinese OEM. In fact, if Xiaomi’s quarter-on-quarter growth rate continues, they may pass Huawei. That would put them at number three in the ranks of vendor quarter volume after Samsung and Apple.

Installed Base

While calculating the exact active installed base of smart devices is an imperfect science, based on historical sales data of devices factored along with active statistics of operating systems on major carrier networks and regionally dominant web services, we can get an approximate that is defendable. The following charts break down the install base of smartphone operating systems over time and where each stands today as a percentage of the active install base.

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As you can see, Android and iOS have been the biggest growth driver of the smartphone install base. Symbian was the biggest loser with most of its user base moving to Android. Blackberry held relatively steady in install base even though their quarterly shipment declines have been steep. What Blackberry’s numbers highlight was while their install base peaked in 2011, they have not participated in any growth and while maintaining a relatively small portion of the install base even at their peak, the next year will likely show steep declines in their install base.

The pie chart shows each smartphone operating systems as they currently stand as a percentage of the install base. Some of my numbers around Apple’s iOS smartphone share and Android’s seem counter to the narratives we hear that Android has 80% or iOS has 15-18%. This is because when most analysts use those numbers they are sharing the percentage of quarterly or annual sales by OS — not as installed base.

There are many fascinating evolving narratives that will continue to be fascinating to watch over the next year. The primary being as the India smartphone ramp starts to show up. India is where China was two years ago and is ramping fast. Karbonn, Lava, and Micromax to name a few may start showing up in our charts soon enough. I’ll continue to update these numbers each quarter and tease out the key observations over the year.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

4 thoughts on “Global Smartphone Vendor Market Share and OS Installed Base Statistics”

  1. For install base, would it make sense to break Android into China Android and All Other Android? My guess is the majority of the growth currently in Android is driven mostly by China; my understanding is Google does not benefit from this. Breaking Android into 2 may help with analysis.

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