Over the next few years, Windows Phone’s share of worldwide smartphone shipments will grow from 2.4 percent in 2012 to 12.7 percent in 2017, predicts research firm Canalys.
“The scalability of Microsoft’s platform will be critical to its success and it has made progress here by enabling Huawei and Nokia to deliver Windows Phone products at aggressive price points,” Jessica Kwee, a Canalys analyst, said in the report.
Kwee says the fact that Microsoft has built key relationships with Chinese vendors and carriers bode well, both for the short and long term. “Longer-term it is the Chinese vendors that are best placed to challenge Samsung’s market dominance,” she said. “Microsoft already has a relationship with Huawei and ZTE in the phone space, and Lenovo is a major partner in the PC space. These partners will be needed to help deliver the scale that Microsoft needs.”
Overall growth in smartphone shipments still will be driven by Android, Canalys predicts, though Android’s market share will decline from 67.7 percent to 67.1 percent. Apple, too, will see growth in overall shipments but a decline in market share, from 19.5 percent to 14.1 percent, according to Canalys.
Canalys is forecasting an 18 percent compound annual growth rate for smartphone shipments, resulting in 1.5 billion smartphones to be shipped in 2017.
The upward trajectory of Windows Phone market share is in line with findings from research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. It recently released data showing Windows Phone’s share of U.S. smartphone sales has gone up 1. 8 percent to now hold 5.6 percent of the smartphone operating system market.
Here’s Kantar’s chart:
On the other hand, research firm comScore says Microsoft’s share of U.S. smartphone subscribers went down slightly from 3.1 percent for the three months ended in January to 3 percent for the three months ended in April. That 3 percent is also down from the 4 percent share Microsoft held in April 2012 and even with the 3 percent share it held in March 2013.
Here’s comScore’s chart:
What accounts for the discrepancy in trajectory between Kantar and comScore? It could be that they’re measuring different things. Kantar is looking at sales share while comScore is looking at subscribers’ share.
Also, according to a spokesman for Kantar, the real difference is that comScore is looking at the number of smartphone owners, which has gone up over time. Kantar, meanwhile, looks at purchasing over a 3-month window — a figure that tends to stay relatively the same year-over-year, according to Kantar. So in the comScore data, Windows Phone is likely still gaining sales but not as fast as the market is growing; whereas with the Kantar data, the growth in Windows Phone share has more to do with actual additional sales, the spokesman said.