By Daniel Hunter

The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows Android retained its number one position in the latest 12 weeks, with 50.1% share, up from 44.6% a year ago. HTC and Samsung are dominating Android handset market sales, holding 86% share between them.

“With less than one week of sales, the HTC One X is already one of Britain’s 10 best-selling smartphones over this period,” Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director, explained.

“The release of the Sony Xperia S and the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S3 have also added to a surge of interest from consumers looking for their next upgrade.

“We are likely to see some big changes in manufacturer shares over the coming months. Particularly as we expect to see almost 22 million consumers aged 13+ changing their mobile device in the next year, with almost 80% of these consumers buying a smartphone.”

Despite the release of the Xperia S, Sony’s share continues to dwindle taking just 10.4% of Android sales in the past 12 weeks while LG holds less than 1%. Both manufacturers have struggled to convince their existing featurephone consumers to switch to their new smartphone ranges — only 11% of Sony featurephone users traded up to one of its smartphones over the past year and this figure is even lower for LG at just 4%.

“With smartphone penetration in the UK at 53.1%, the pool of featurephone users left to trade up is beginning to diminish,” Dominic continued.

“This means that smartphone manufacturers need to step up their game and find ways of stealing consumers from their competitors — something that usually proves harder than convincing existing customers to trade up from featurephone to smartphone.

“Rich new content and features are a big driver for consumers looking to trade up. However, convincing users to switch brands requires an emphasis on the user experience — an area in which Apple excels. Consumers have come to expect top-end hardware and manufacturers are responding with innovative software, good services and exclusive content partnerships. These expectations from tech-savvy customers are yet another obstacle for Asian manufacturers, such as Huawei and ZTE, who will attempt to make a splash by releasing high-end models in the coming months.”

Around the world

Android’s stronghold is now becoming more prevalent across Europe, particularly in Spain where it holds 72.3% of the market with year-on-year growth of 39.5%. It has also seen phenomenal growth in Italy and Germany with respective growth rates of 29.3% and 27.2%.

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