Posted February 13, 2013 10:14 am by with 11 comments

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The world is becoming increasingly mobile. Mobility isn’t just about having a phone it’s about having a smartphone since true mobility is that which allows end users to get the world’s information at their beck and call and not just the ability to phone or text someone.

The two biggest players in the smartphone world are Apple (iOS) and Android. Apple started the craze and set the standard with the introduction of the iPhone about a billion years ago. For a good while it held the top spot and was unmatched by seemingly inferior Android products.

Well, if the chart below from Gartner (link is to report that is for sale) is to be trusted, Apple is losing its grip on being the lead dog at least from a sales perspective. Actually, let’s just be honest here and say they have lost their grip.

Smartphone Sales to End Users Feb 2013 Gartner

The increase in Android device sales from Q4 2011 to Q4 2012 is almost staggering.

So let’s play the “Why does this matter to me as a marketer?” game. It matters because there is still a fair amount of marketers developing apps for iOS only. Honestly, I am amazed each time I see it.

What I would like to see more of (and please point me in the right direction if you know an answer here) is the demographics of the iOS v Android user. I would have to guess the demographics of of the iOS crowd skew much higher on the income scale.

Maybe we are finally getting away from the fact that everyone has a smartphone to now determining WHO has WHAT smartphone and are they my audience?

What’s your take?

  • Peter du Toit

    I must be honest I don’t think this worries Apple at all. Just as I am sure high end German motor manufactures don’t spend too much time on worrying what other manufactures like Fiat are doing for example.

    Here is the thing there will always be more android phones because the OS is on so many different handsets!

    Apple currently has the most lucrative app ecosystem in the world! And as long as that stays like that the worlds best developers will develop for iOS.

    • FrankReed

      I’m not convinced there is ever a time where a company like Apple wants to lose market share year over year.

  • Anthony Baisi

    I find it funny that you would compare BMW’s Rolls Royce to Fiat. There not even the same sport never mind a different playing field.
    It makes me happy that apple has lost market share, their phones suck and their laptops are over rated.

  • Any/all Android manufacturer would happily give up their market share position for Apple’s on the measure of margins/profitability. That’s what matters! Apple’s not cringing.

    • Michael Goldman

      you really think carriers will continue to pay Apple inflated handset prices so Apple can sit on those artificial margins? when Android outnumbers Apple handsets like 3.5 – 1? one of them has to cave and it won’t be the carriers – Apple’s going to have to start cutting prices and their margins will soon go poof….not enough fanboys alive to prop them up

      • Sean Reilly

        Michael I don’t mean to troll, but you seem to have a misunderstanding of how much more Apple’s margin is per phone than Google.

        First: Apple makes money on the hardware, Google does not, the market share they have may only be around 10% globally (Forbes 22nd Aug 2012) but they take about 71% of the industry profit (CNET 6th Aug 2012). Their market share would need to fall significantly (like beyond Blackberry) for them to have to drop their price.

        Second they make significantly more on their developers & apps; Apple $99 registration vs Google $25 registration. Apple make 30% per app and can do this on the nearly 1/2 a million paid apps for in the App Store(Mashable 19th Nov 2012) where as Google Play takes the same cut but only currently has this volume of total apps with a significant percentage less of their overall apps being paid for ones (Techcrunch 22nd Jan 2013).

        Third, and most importantly to the networks, most owners of Apple products are less price sensitive (TUAW 26th June 2012) so they Apple keep prices up and improve the specs over time (e.g. the entry level iMac is still about the same price as I paid for my old iMac 7.1 but much higher spec). And this lack of price sensitivity will always be very attractive to the networks.

        • Michael Goldman

          Obviously you didn’t actually read or understand what I wrote. I said clearly that Apple’s margins were in fact higher than Andoid’s – the issue is that margin is artificial because of the way Apple maintains those relationships….carriers don’t want to pay those subsidized prices anymore. They are beginning to see a disadvantage in selling the iphone because Android sets are now on par technically (technologically?) and the subsidies they have to pay are much less with Android. Unless Apple starts cutting the rates they charge both carriers AND developers, it’s going to be a slow bleed for Apple as the costs will soon outweigh any benefit they get with Apple. Nice attempt at trolling, though….

  • Paul

    For goodness sake, the Android OS sits on billions of cheap and nasty handsets. iOS sits on precisely zero cheap and nasty handsets. I wouldn’t touch those customers with a Samsung stuck on a ten foot pole.

    • Michael Goldman

      good thing nobody is knocking on your door to run their marketing or sales departments – you sound like a moron saying you would trade 3.5x sales because some 3rd party hardware is “inferior”

      • Aaron

        It’s not sales – Android is free. That’s why the cheap devices use it, and it’s also why it’s not an…. apples to apples comparison, even within the Android column.

        If you think of Apple as a hardware manufacturer, its most significant competitor is Samsung. If you are looking at which population of device owner is more apt to purchase your app, despite the larger population of Android users it may well still be the iOS users – I’m sure there’s some marketing research on point.

  • Kjor

    As having an iPhone and an Android tablet, I think I prefer the android OS. It’s faster (for what I do), some of the same apps I prefer on android (I MUCH prefer the Windows facebook app to iOS), and it is not a cheap and nasty handset at all. In fact, it has a fully functioning physical keyboard, a bigger screen than the iPad (resolution is another thing, but my tablet has very smooth transitions and HD quality), as well as a USB port, a micro HDMI slot, AND a micro SD card reader. Take THAT, Apple (and thank you, Asus)!