US Insights

Checking in on Android as Google i/o kicks off

Carolina Milanesi

Former Chief of Research and Head of US Business, ComTech

Mobile 05.27.2015 / 13:55


Kantar Worldpanel ComTech data-driven perspective on upcoming announcements

With the Google i/o keynote just one day away, we thought it might be useful to present some data points to add perspective for any upcoming announcement on Android, Android Wear, Chrome, or the rest of the big Google franchises.

As of the end of Q1 2015, Android controlled 54.3% of the US smartphone installed base, 64.7% of the smartphones in use across the European Big Five (Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain) and 69.6% in urban China, where of course the majority of the devices in use are forked.

In tablets, Android owned 53% of the US installed base, 58% of the tablets in use in the European Big Five, and 38% of those in use in urban China.

These top-level numbers sure appear healthy. But a look at other metrics such as purchase reasons, spend, and user engagement shows the problems Google is facing with having great quantity but lacking in quality, in our experience.

In the US, the "cost of the handset" was the reason to purchase an Android device mentioned by 37% of the panelists who bought an Android device in Q1 2015, while for iOS the number went down to 19%. "Cost of billing" mattered to 39% of the Android audience, while only 32% of iPhone buyers mentioned it. Both of these data points signal that the value-for-money nature of Android is a demand generator. For Google, this would not be an issue, especially since it set out to democratize smartphones. But this is certainly more of an issue for vendors who are struggling to acquire high-paying customers.

Engagement is another indicator of the high value of users within an ecosystem. Looking at smartphone usage in Q1 2015, 58% of Android users on our US panel did not download or use an app in 30 days during the quarter - compared to 47% of iPhone users. In urban China, 44% of our panelists using Android smartphones had not played a game in the past month, versus 34% for iOS users.

Among Android tablet owners, loyalty reached 71% in the US in 1Q15 compared to 79% for iOS.

With wearables starting to pick up momentum, the ecosystem will prove critical in retaining customers and possibly even winning them over. Back in November and before we had full details on the Apple Watch, we asked British smartphone owners who intend to buy a wearable device in the next 12 months if they were ready to switch their smartphone OS, and 44% of Android owners said they were NOT ready, versus 48% of iOS owners - showing that the game is certainly on.

Google started to take some steps last year to address the quality of apps for tablets, security within the enterprise, content consumption, and sharing. It will certainly be interesting to see what else will be addressed during this year's developer conference.

When it comes to other franchises such as YouTube, Google+, and Google Search, it is easy to see the platform-agnostic approach is paying off by looking at the platforms on which the devices accessing these services and apps are running.

During Q1 2015, among all the panelists in the US who used Google Search, 57% had an Android phone while 39% had an iPhone. In Great Britain, 50% of panelists accessing Google search did it through a smartphone running on Android, while 39.9% used an iPhone.

Among the panelists in Great Britain who used YouTube in 1Q15, 49.5% were Android smartphones users while 41.4% were iOS users. In the US, the numbers were 57.8% for Android and 37.4% for iOS smartphones.

Google+ shows trends similar to YouTube, as 63% of the US panelists who used it in Q1 2015 did so through an Android smartphone, and 30.5% through iPhones. In Great Britain, the numbers were 59.5% for Android smartphones and 28.7% for iOS smartphones.

Ultimately, we believe Google wants to engage with valuable customers no matter what platform they are using. However, improving the experience on Android will lower the risk of churn - not just for the OS, but also for Android services and applications.



Source: Kantar Worldpanel

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