The successful launch of the iPhone X reignited Apple’s iOS dominance in the Australian smartphone market, nabbing a 56.2 per cent lead in the space in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to analyst firm IDC.
During the second and third quarter, Android was dominating the Australian operating system market share, but it now sits in second place with 43.8 per cent.
IDC Australia senior market analyst, Bilal Javed, said Apple’s rise was expected as consumers held off their purchases in anticipation of the iPhone X.
“Riding on the back of the very successful iPhone X launch, the tables have turned, and iOS has not only returned to the top but stretched its lead to grab 56.2 per cent share compared to 43.8 per cent for Android," Javed said.
Overall, the Australian mobile phone market exceeded growth expectations, shipping 3.36m devices, a 15.7 per cent year-on-year growth. About 92 per cent of these handsets were smartphones with the rest being feature phones.
According to IDC, the majority of feature phones shipped into the country were 3G enabled, prepaid devices offered by telecom providers along with the nostalgic Nokia 3310 3G.
Windows powered phones didn’t make the cut, hindered by a lack of new devices and apps on the platform across both consumer and commercial segments, the analyst firm said.
Apple’s biggest challenge will be to maintain its stronghold as hype from iPhone X slows down and Android vendors launch newer devices in the first half of this year, IDC said.
Samsung held onto second spot even after its share dropped to 15.4 per cent in the fourth quarter from 24.6 per cent in third quarter 2017.
Samsung's shipments were fuelled by the Galaxy S8/S8+ and Note 8 which accounted for more than 55 per cent of all Samsung smartphones in the quarter.
The analyst firm said Samsung benefitted from a diversified portfolio, saw growth of the J series and A series smartphones as it competes with other Android vendors in the mid- range price segment.
Looking beyond Apple and Samsung, the remainder of the market share is subject to intense battles, IDC said.
Telstra branded smartphones (which are primarily manufactured by ZTE), dominated the low-priced prepaid space with 5.4 per cent of the market. TCL owned Alcatel based on its partnership with Vodafone for the U series and A series held 4 per cent of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter.
ZTE rounded off the top five with 3.5 per cent of the market. OPPO, Google and Huawei along with Optus branded smartphones (primarily manufactured by Alcatel) followed closely behind.
"On the back of new Android product launches witnessed at Mobile World Congress, along with the hype around 5G plus advancements in artificial intelligence mean that the smartphone market will remain highly competitive, and vendors will need to continue to innovate or risk falling behind," Javed said.