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Android, iOS wipe the floor with rivals, account for 92% of smartphone shipments in Q4

Published Jan 28th, 2013 11:45AM EST
Android iOS Smartphone Shipments

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Anyone looking to become the third major mobile operating system may be vying for an increasingly small slice of the market. A new report from Strategy Analytics shows that Android and iOS devices accounted for 92% of all smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2012, a record combined share for the world’s top two mobile operating systems.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, Android and iOS accounted for 75% of all smartphone shipments, so their dominance of the mobile market has actually grown significantly over the past year. Android was the chief driver in growth over the past year, as its share of smartphone shipments surged from 51% in Q4 2011 to 70% in Q4 2012, while iOS’ market share remained relatively steady over the past year, slipping slightly from 23.6% in Q4 2011 to 22% in Q4 2012.

Strategy Analytics’ full press release is posted below.

Strategy Analytics: Android and Apple iOS Capture a Record 92 Percent Share of Global Smartphone Shipments in Q4 2012

Boston, MA – January 28, 2013 – According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments grew 38 percent annually to reach 217 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012. Android and Apple iOS together accounted for a record 92 percent share of all smartphones shipped worldwide.

Neil Shah, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global smartphone shipments grew 38 percent annually from 157.0 million units in Q4 2011 to 217.0 million in Q4 2012. Global smartphone shipments for the full year reached a record 700.1 million units in 2012, increasing robustly from 490.5 million units in 2011. Global shipment growth slowed from 64 percent in 2011 to 43 percent in 2012 as penetration of smartphones began to mature in developed regions such as North America and Western Europe.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “We estimate 152.1 million Android smartphones were shipped globally in Q4 2012, nearly doubling from 80.6 million units in Q4 2011. Android’s share of the global smartphone market has surged from 51 percent to 70 percent over the past year, crushing Symbian, Bada and other platforms in its wake. Almost half-a-billion Android smartphones were shipped in total worldwide during 2012. Android is clearly the undisputed volume leader of the smartphone industry at the present time. Android’s challenge for 2013 will be to defend its leadership, not only against Apple, but also against an emerging wave of hungry challengers that includes Microsoft, Blackberry, Firefox and Tizen.”

Scott Bicheno, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, added, “Apple grew 29 percent annually and shipped 47.8 million smartphones worldwide for 22 percent marketshare in Q4 2012, dipping slightly from 24 percent a year earlier. Combined together, Apple and Android accounted for a record 92 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally in the fourth quarter of 2012. The worldwide smartphone industry has effectively become a duopoly as consumer demand has polarized around mass-market Android models and premium Apple designs.”

Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Operating System Shipments and Market Share in Q4 2012  [1]

Global Smartphone OS Shipments (Millions of Units) Q4 ’11 2011 Q4 ’12 2012
Android 80.6 238.9 152.1 479.0
Apple iOS 37.0 93.0 47.8 135.8
Others 39.4 158.6 17.1 85.3
Total 157.0 490.5 217.0 700.1
Global Smartphone OS Marketshare  % Q4 ’11 2011 Q4 ’12 2012
Android 51.3% 48.7% 70.1% 68.4%
Apple iOS 23.6% 19.0% 22.0% 19.4%
Others 25.1% 32.3% 7.9% 12.2%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Total Growth Year-over-Year % 55.9% 63.8% 38.2% 42.7%

1 Numbers are rounded.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.