Apple dominates EU and US, Nokia rules rest of the world

Mobile World Congress is underway in Barcelona and today was Smartphone and Tablet Launch Day with Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson announcing tablets and smartphones. However, the big elephant in the room once again is Apple.

Apple does not attend these industry-centric self-congratulatory festivals and prefers to stage their own events when it suits them. Despite Apple’s absence, its presence is too keenly felt at MWC, given the endless parade of tablets that purport to give you a better user experience than the iPad or smartphones that attempt to out-iPhone the iPhone. Sadly, for all of these manufacturers, they will need to sell their wares at a much lower price than what Apple charges for the iPhone and the iPad. Check out this short review of the just released Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: From the front, then, the Tab 10.1 is easily the equal of the iPad. Then things start to go wrong. It’s very clear that a $500 tablet is impossible for anyone but Apple to build without cutting corners. The Tab not only has a plastic back, but the metal-looking bezel is in fact silvered plastic, and looks as tacky as the dime-store toy-tablets that will surely flood stores soon.

Apple dominant in Europe, Japan and the US

Just to show you how dominant Apple is in Europe, check out the following charts. According to Statcounter, Apple has almost 45 percent of the European mobile operating system (OS) market and 33 percent of the North American market (measured over a 3 month period, 10 November 2010 to 11 February 2011).

Mobile OS market share in Europe (10 Nov 2010-11 Feb 2011)

Mobile OS market share in North America (10 Nov 2010-11 Feb 2011)

Nokia (via its Symbian OS) dominates everywhere else – Asia, Africa and South America. Android and Blackberry (RIM) are much stronger in North America than in Europe, but are not doing as well in South America, Africa or Asia given that the vast majority of phones in these 3 regions are not (yet) smartphones. However, we know things are moving very quickly in these emerging countries, with ever more people able to afford smartphones.

Mobile OS market share in Asia (10 Nov 2010-11 Feb 2011)

Mobile OS market share in South America (10 Nov 2010-11 Feb 2011)

Mobile OS market share in Africa (10 Nov 2010-11 Feb 2011)

But the most shocking statistic in my opinion is the absolute dominance of Apple in the Japanese market60 percent! When Apple launched the iPhone in Japan in 2008, most analysts believed it would barely cause a ripple. They were wrong: the iPhone and the iPad have been smashing successes in the Japanese market and this dominance comes only two years after the launch of the iPhone.

Mobile OS market share in Japan (10 Nov 2010-11 Feb 2011)

Check out Statcounter’s cool interactive global stats page.

While the mobile operators who carry the iPhone are happily ringing up lots of profits, they’re also scared. Apple is not a company they can push around like Nokia and rumours about Apple’s “choose your own mobile operator on the fly” feature for future iPhones is making them very nervous.


  1. endorendil says:

    Summarizing: Apple dominates where incomes and brand-awareness are extremely high, Symbian dominates where value for money is paramount. Makes sense to me.