The chart below attempts to predict the worldwide use of the various mobile OS platforms with a surprising twist. Android and Microsoft see huge gains while Apple even declines in market share after this year. Yikes.
Of course these are only predictions and no one can tell the future but Gartner has their reasons for thinking this way. According to their press release for their findings (which is for sale here with no connection to Marketing Pilgrim)
Gartner predicts that Apple’s iOS will remain the second biggest platform worldwide through 2014 despite its share deceasing slightly after 2011. This reflects Gartner’s underlying assumption that Apple will be interested in maintaining margins rather than pursuing market share by changing its pricing strategy. This will continue to limit adoption in emerging regions. iOS share will peak in 2011, with volume growth well above the market average. This is driven by increased channel reach in key mature markets like the U.S. and Western Europe.
And why will Android continue its march to mobile OS dominance? Price.
“By 2015, 67 percent of all open OS devices will have an average selling price of $300 or below, proving that smartphones have been finally truly democratized,” said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner.
“As vendors delivering Android-based devices continue to fight for market share, price will decrease to further benefit consumers”, Ms. Cozza said. “Android’s position at the high end of the market will remain strong, but its greatest volume opportunity in the longer term will be in the mid- to low-cost smartphones, above all in emerging markets.”
So Apple fan boys can relax because this is not a declaration that Android or Microsoft is better than the Apple mobile offerings. It’s a money thing. If this scenario plays out Apple will ‘hold serve’ and maintain profit margins by keeping its price point above the mass market just like they have with every other product they have ever introduced. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
So while these numbers can look startling in one moment they are pretty reasonable in the next. Unfortunately, this just makes the job of marketers even harder as they try to make sure they can get their message to the right group at the right time. Will high-end marketers eventually make the choice to simply court Apple users because of their demographics? Maybe but it is unlikely that Android and Microsoft will exclusively serve the less affluent markets. Internationally it could be quite the opposite considering Microsoft’s deal with Nokia which still is the primary mobile hardware used outside the US. So in other words, marketers are going to need to gear up for producing apps and the like for all three platforms if they want to stay in front of the right mobile users.
As for Research In Motion’s Blackberry? At least they can say that things don’t look as bad as Symbian.