Android triples Aussie market share in 3 months


Just 12 months ago, Apple’s burgeoning mobile phone business could do no wrong in Australia. Fresh from the local launch of the iPhone 3GS and with a market share ranking that was speedily catching up to the likes of Nokia and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry in the smartphone market, Apple was on track to conquer the world.

What a difference a year can make.

Yesterday, local analyst firm IDC published a research report noting that although Apple was still growing strongly, it was Google’s mobile operating system that was expanding its turf the fastest.

In the first three months of 2010, just 2.1 percent of smartphones shipped in Australia were based on the Android platform. But over the succeeding three months to the end of June, the percentage of Android shipments had more than trebled, reaching 7.1 percent at the end of that period. Then in the three months to the end of September, Android’s share of the smartphone market exploded again — up to 21 percent.

According to IDC, the vendor that has the most to lose in the smartphone space is Nokia, which the analyst firm said has been number one in the local market since 2002, when it nudged Palm — now broadly considered a minor party in the smartphone wars — of its throne. Nokia primarily uses the Symbian operating system on its devices, also it is planning to bring its new Meego platform to market shortly.

Over the three months to the end of September, IDC said, Apple for the first time overtook Nokia as the leader in Australia’s smartphone space, with more than a third (36.5 percent) of all smartphones shipped locally in that period being iPhones. Nokia had a 30.5 percent market share during the same period.

Android may be the next platform to knock Nokia down a notch — and next time it will be into third place.

A key factor in the growth of the Android platform is the number of handsets that have been launched by different vendors this year. Industry insiders commonly cite Telstra’s exclusive introduction of the HTC Desire in April as the critical factor which vaulted Android to the forefront of Australia’s consumers’ minds, but rivals vendors like Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, LG and soon — Huawei — have also launched high-end Android smartphones locally in the past 12 months.

But much of the Android market share is being taken up by Taiwanese innovator HTC. “HTC saw a strong increase in shipments in Q3, with market share soaring to 8.9 percent to take third place in the smartphone market, up from fifth place in Q2,” said Novosel.

Some of the Android vendors are now launching new versions of their existing high-end models — such as the HTC Desire HD, which recently went on sale through Vodafone. In comparison, Nokia has had relatively few high-profile launches, with one notable exception being its flagship N8.

“2011 will be a critical year in the Australian market,” wrote IDC telecommunications market analyst Mark Novosel in a statement. “Android will continue its strong upward trend, with Apple’s iOS leading the charge. Nokia must fast-track the development of its high-end Meego-powered smartphones, in order to regain market share and avoid being overtaken by Android.”

IDC also echoed comments earlier this week by Huawei on continual downward pricing pressure in the smartphone space. “The combination of a strong Australian dollar, intense competition amongst carriers and high demand for smartphones means 2011 will be a fierce battleground for smartphone vendors, with strong downward pressure on prices in order to win over consumers,” wrote Novosel.

And it’s not just in smartphones where the game is being changed. IDC noted that over 60 percent of new mobile phones in general were now smartphones. Nokia still owns 37.6 percent of the total market; but Apple is closing, with an overall market share now of 21.6.

Image credit: Lynn Wallenstein, Creative Commons


  1. If number of shipments is the measure, the report probably doesn’t take into account Android phones imported into Australia through online channels (especially considering the strength of the dollar). I think in the initial phases of Android uptake in Australia this importation was not a negligible number, considering the exclusivity agreements vendors have in place. However, from a global perspective for Android that’s a net-net : no gain-no loss situation.

    • Hmm. To be honest, I’m not sure there is a statistically significant proportion of people doing this. Sure, people will do it; but most people buy new phones on plans etc.

  2. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with Nokia – as a teenager I was completely brand loyal to their phones and their (older) Symbian operating system, but it seems like the company is stuck in the past. The Nokia ‘app market’ is not even worth mentioning when compared to the Apple and Andoid markets, their phones just seem ‘old’ these days, and I’ve gone completely off them.

    I know it’s easier said that done given how much they would have invested in their new OS, but I think it’s time they cut their losses and jumped onto the Android platform (at least for their smartphone line). A smartphone without a bit market of apps may as well be a regular mobile phone.

    • Truly. The smartphone market can support two, maybe three operating systems at best … and with BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 to compete with, Symbian and even Meego don’t have a snowflakes’ chance in hell.

      Nokia has always had amazing build quality; their best bet now is to start competing with HTC and bring some high-end Android handsets to market; high margin, sell a stack. They’d survive until the next round. As it stands, they are on track to become the next Palm.

      • You can forget about Windows Phone 7. It is a flop.
        BlackBerry might -just might- make it in North America. No chance outside.

        If U.S. operators want it, Nokia could make some Android models for them.
        But to jump totally to Android bandwagon? Suicide. LG is going to be the first Android’s victim.

        Just wait and see.

  3. No way Android would be a good bet for Nokia. It would make them just another hardware manufacturer for Google. How would they survive that with the Chinese?

    I believe Nokia is on the right track. Hardware is competitive as always and new Symbian is far better than old – and it is under constant evolution. Meego coming in 2011 for prime segment. Looks good to me.

  4. ‘(Noikia’s) new Meego’ ->’Linux Foundation Meego, as derived from Nokia Maemo and Intel Moblin’

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