The iPhone 12’s strong performance so far has led eMarketer to increase its projections for iPhone users in the US for 2021 and beyond. The company now expect iPhone usage in the US will grow this year to 116.3 million, slightly ahead of the Q1 2020 projection of 113.4 million.
eMarketer has also bumped up its share figure for iPhones – 46.9 per cent in 2021, versus 45.9 per cent. Apple’s small share gain comes at the expense of Android’s share, which we have lowered slightly from 54 per cent to 52.9 per cent. Despite Apple chipping away at competitors, Android will remain the more popular operating system (OS) for the entire forecast period.
“In what was a dismal year for the global economy, Apple surpassed expectations and saw remarkable revenue growth, driven by strong sales of its new iPhone 12,” said eMarketer senior forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence Oscar Orozco. “Driven by pent-up demand, interest in 5G-enabled devices, and carrier promotions too good to pass up, consumers have purchased the new device in droves. We expect this momentum to continue into 2021.”
In the UK, Android continues to gain share over competitors. This year, 28.9 million people in the UK will use an Android smartphone, representing 59.4 per cent of total UK smartphone users (48.7 million). Currently, the iPhone is the second most popular device, representing 40.4 per cent of users (19.7 million).
“The Apple ecosystem is slightly less all-encompassing in the UK than it is in the US, with messaging providing a particularly pertinent illustration,” said Bill Fisher, eMarketer senior analyst at Insider Intelligence. “The WhatsApp messaging platform, which works across OSs, is hugely popular in the UK. It allows smartphone users in the country to send multimedia messages across platforms (iOS and Android) without incurring additional fees—multimedia messages sent between iMessage users are included in mobile operator bundles, but once you step outside that bubble, messages are charged.
“During the recent lockdowns, WhatsApp’s cross-platform capabilities were vital to many consumers, with iMessage’s limitations laid bare. The relative lack of pricing tiers across the iPhone range has also played into Android’s hands, with price sensitivity increasingly top of mind as economic worries snowball during the pandemic-plus-Brexit maelstrom.”
eMarketer anticipates that the number of UK Android users will surpass 30 million by 2023, amassing 60 per cent share in the process. Meanwhile, Apple’s share will drop slightly to 39.9 per cent by 2023.
The total number of UK smartphone users will grow steadily at 1.7 per cent per year for the remainder of the forecast.