Apple fortunes boosted by growth in Japan, Europe and Australia

Apple has begun to eat away at Android’s lead in the global smartphone market by making significant gains in a range of key Western markets where it remains popular.

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Sales data for the three months to March 2014 released by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech showed that it has increased sales of its iPhone 5S handset across Europe, Japan and Australia.

“Apple regained ground in the first quarter of 2014, primarily due to the strong performance of the iPhone 5S, growing its sales share in Europe, Japan and Australia. By contrast, Windows had a tough start to the year as a result of its entry-level Nokia models facing fierce competition from low-end Motorola, LG and Samsung Android smartphones,” stated Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar WorldPanel ComTech.

When it comes to the European market, Google’s Android OS is continuing to show its dominance with a 70.7 per cent share of the market, Apple holding firm in second place with 19.2 per cent and Windows Phone lagging behind in third with 8.1 per cent.

Apple’s best performance came over in Japan where it accounted for 42 per cent of all smartphone sales on the NTT DoCoMo network, 59 per cent on KDDI AU and 81 per cent on Softbank. Most Japanese consumers are drawn to the iPhone due to its design [30 per cent], whereas 29 per cent enjoy its 4G capabilities and 24 per cent believe it will be reliable.

It’s a different story in China as consumers continue to be drawn to phablets, 40 per cent of smartphones sales for devices with a screen that is larger than 5in driven by advances in technology.

“It’s clear that phablets really are changing the way Chinese consumers use smartphones. More than one in five phablet owners now watch mobile TV on a daily basis, half do so at least once a month, and this is without widespread availability of 4G. As 4G infrastructure expands in China, the demand for data is going to be unprecedented, paving the way for carriers to boost revenues significantly through larger data packages,” Sunnebo added.

Related: Survey: Apple will overtake Android by 2016

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech came to its conclusions by interviewing mobile phone owners as well as keeping track of mobile phone purchases across the world.