StockApps (via Wccftech) points out that based on data from Statista, Android’s global market share has declined over the last few years from 77.32% in 2018 to 69.74%. Even though that still gives Android a huge lead over iOS, it appears that the latter is slowly picking up ground. Over the same time period (five years) iOS has gone from a 19.4% slice of the worldwide smartphone pie to 25.49% as of January 2022.

Android’s global market share lead over iOS has declined over the last few years

While Android and iOS together own almost 100% of the market, at the bottom of the chart that accompanies this story you can see some of the operating systems that exist although you probably won’t find anyone you know or even pass on the street toting a phone running these operating systems. Living in this group is KaiOS which is a Linux-based platform that gives feature phones some smartphone-like capabilities including the ability to install apps.

Other operating systems grazing along the bottom of the graph include Windows Phone, Tizen, and Nokia’s S40. While iOS is the leading mobile OS in the U.S., in regions that are labeled “developing” Android has a huge lead. For example, in Asia Android has a market share of 81% rising to 90% in South America.

One theory for the rising iOS share is that Apple has been able to make headway in developing markets thanks to its lower-priced iPhone SE models. So far though, sales of the latest version of the “cheaper” iPhone have been, according to reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, “lackluster.”

But there is no denying that the economy in a particular region plays a major role in determining which OS is favored in certain markets. Android’s share in Africa is 84% with 14% owning an iOS-powered phone (an iPhone). While not as dominant in Europe, on the continent Android still is found on 69.32% of smartphones compared to the 30% share garnered by iOS.

In North America, iOS is on top

In North America, iOS has a 54% to 45% lead over Android. Interestingly, it wasn’t until May 2012 that Android took the lead globally in mobile operating system market share at 23.81%. Symbian, which had been on the top for years, dropped to third with a 20.25% slice of the worldwide global mobile OS pie and the 22.95% share owned by iOS placed it second behind Android.

Unless Apple drastically cuts iPhone pricing or per capita income rises sharply in developing nations, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which Android gives up its large lead to iOS. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be fluctuations like the ones that we have seen over the last few years where iOS has cut into Android’s global lead.

On an individual level, consumers have their favorite phone brand and operating system, and certain features might drive an individual to purchase one device over another. But looking at the big picture, neither operating system boasts a particular must-have feature that would change things which means that pricing is really the key.





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