27 June 2013

Where are Windows Phone users coming from ?

On June 26, Microsoft revealed some interesting information about users of Windows Phone devices: 42 % of WP users were upgrading from feature phones and 23 % were moving from Android.

Is this good or bad result for Microsoft and companies using its mobile platform ?

There are no explicitly right data available to give exactly right numbers, but rough and correct enough figures can be derived by using statistics from e.g. Gartner and Tomi Ahonen.

Let´s look at the table above, where relevant global mobile device statistics have been gathered from sources mentioned earlier. We try to evaluate Microsoft announcement by using installed base at the end of fourth quarter 2012 and end of first quarter 2013. Also available first quarter 2013 total sales numbers will be used. On rows 4 to 7 there are total feature phone and smartphone statistics, and an estimate, how many feature phone users worldwide have upgraded to smartphone. The latter rough figure is derived just by assuming that all feature phone buyers that do not show up in installed base move to smartphones.

Rows 9 to 11 are about Android, with Android retainers derived simply through subtracting from total 1Q sales the growth in installed base during the same period.

On WP rows, 13 to 15, transition numbers are directly taken from the Microsoft announcement.

Number of Symbian detainees is calculated in the same manner as is case of Android.

Then comes the story, how to interpret this ?

Microsoft was happily beating the drum for the 42 % of WP users coming from feature phone, but, according to 1Q 2013 statistics, this means only about 1 % market share of all upgraders (see row 20). By no means this can be considered good or even acceptable. Taking Nokia´s earlier and also current position in the feature phone market, WP should be able to lure many more of the 4 billion users.

Though there might by some dissatisfaction among Android users, as Microsoft says, it does not seem to be walk in the park for WP - only about 3 % of Android users purchasing a new device select a Windows Phone (row 21). This is on a par or only slightly better than current WP market share. Exact Android retention level is not known, but here an estimate from US is extrapolated to global markets.

And finally, as row 22 shows, Symbian users seem to strongly avoid the Microsoft platform, less than 6,6 % - most probably much less - select that. Taking Nokia´s dominating role in Symbian, it looks that loyalty towards both the company and the smartphone platform it is using have close to disappeared.

The bottom line is that although there are some imprecision in numbers presented, it is clear that there is nothing that Microsoft and its licensees could be very proud of.  This does not say that there would not be possibilities to improve market positions, but there is still long way to go.


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