Skip to main content

New data shows Windows Phone on the rise in US, strengthens third position

Latest figures released by Kantar Worldpanel shows that Microsoft is actually starting to perform rather well in the US, one of the more important markets for the company. So much so that the platform is growing at a slightly faster rate than Google's Android. Microsoft still has a tough mountain to climb to tackle both Android and iOS, but it would seem as though the third position is firmly in its grasp.

Windows Phone accounted for 5.6 percent of all smartphone sales in the three months ending March 2013, according to the report. This is up from 3.7 percent a year ago. Android's share rose from 47.9 percent to 49.3 percent, while Apple slipped from 44.6 percent to 43.7 percent. Blackberry fell from 2.6 percent to just 0.9 percent. Kantar states that Nokia had the most to gain from Windows Phone growth.

Despite the launch of new Blackberry hardware, the company is still experiencing difficult times indeed. So why has Windows Phone grown significantly? Kantar pins this growth down to the operating system appealing to first-time smartphone buyers - an important group of consumers - more than Apple's iOS.

We can certainly relate to this. Large tiles, a simple user interface and a focus on typography across the majority of apps provides a familiar and integrated experience. The research firm noted that from its own survey, 52 percent of people who swapped to Windows Phone had a feature handset beforehand. By contrast, 55 percent of people who had bought an iPhone had previously owned another smartphone.

It's believed that Windows Phone will continue to capture more consumers who are looking to advance up the ladder to the smartphone world. There's a large proportion of consumers in the US who still use a feature phone. Should Microsoft (or rather Nokia) be able to tap into this pool, there'll be some more positive reports to come.

Source: Forbes, via: WMPU; thanks, Bob, for the tip!

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Slowly but surely ;)
  • And first.
  • And nope. And immature.
  • While immature, he was commenting that his previous post was first
  • so his second comment is flawed as its not the first comment
  • How is it not "First" lol........i was the first person to post....2nd comment goes along with the first since im the first yes it is first as i was adding to it. 
  • They are to dumb to realize such thing lol
  • You people seriously need a chill pill LMFAO...take the pole out your asses seriously.
  • how about you simply get mature :O
  • Hahahaha!!!
  • Every "first" comment should be automatically deleted or replaced with an "I'm immature, sorry
    " comment.
  • Another person with a stick up his ass lmfao....relax. Every comment talking about the "First" comment should be deleted or replaced with "I'm immature, and an uptight asshole" :D
  • You know WP is taking off when the comments section are getting filled with idiots. 
  • seriously? lol........look at your first comment please. 
  • Why are you both being pathetic about this? This is good news and somehow the first few comments I see are people, Windows phone users may I add fighting about it??
  • It is good news. I'm pointing out that the user base is getting more, shall I say varied since the early days. And that the comments section is becoming more like youtube everyday :s
  • But you seriously keep on.........All of this because of a "First" comment LOL.
  • Gogo Power Rangers...erm I mean WP
  • The original power rangers was the best lol .
  • Windows phone doesn't have apps problems alone,but also doesn't boast a wide range of phones like android or features which IOS has.
  • What features does iOS have that WP8 don't? Siri?
  • iPhone has a ton of features that are not found in the world of Windows Phone.  Wireless charging, NFC, SD card slot, multiple screen sizes, different resolutions, mutliple price points, colors, removable cases/batteries, Kids Corner, Family Room, offline mapping solution that actually works.  Oh wait, do I have that all backwards?
  • LOL!
  • I'm with you on that LOL
  • The only problem for me is the Bing and maps problem. Bing is bad in almost every other country, except the US. And the maps offer from bing and Navteq are not up to date in my country. Google has much better satellite images of the Faroe Islands (which is the seaway connection between Scandinavia and Iceland, so tourist end up here frustrated and lost if they use their GPS)
    I've been part of the Google mapmakers, and been mapping my country. But I can't do that with Navteq/Bing, becuase of crappy images!
    But none the less, I love WP, and I hope to buy one soon! :)
  • I love bing here in The Netherlands!
  • WP8 uses Nokia maps as a default now i'm pretty sure. Nokia maps is quite better over seas than bing maps isn't it?
  • Love it...
  • LMAO!!!!!!
  • LOL!
  • Orientation Lock. Have to miss that bad. :(
  • I really would like to see some kind of "Do not distrub".
  • other than notifications & folders, i cant think of any ios feature WP is "missing" (WP has more features as far as social networks are concerned.) And the "app problem" speak of WP is faulty anyways (Theres tons of alternative apps on WP 10x better than the "brand name" Android/iOS apps, yet consumers dont know it). And a wide range of phones is debatable (1/2 the android phones are awfull, and you dont want to overpopulate the market with crappy devices, but at the same time, including variants, Nokia alone has 8 WP8 phones under their Lumia line, and more rumored devices (928, Catwalk) on the way)
  • This. WP has most of the major apps and where they don't there are suitable alternatives.  Like iOS was back in 2008-09 when the first-party apps usually stunk.  Personally I don't really need folders, but I'd like more sorting options for the "all apps" screen, like most used, category etc.  
    I also would like the option to enable the status bar at the top to always display (a holdover from my iOS days for sure but I like it) and also the option to have the Mail tile show the number of unread items, even if I opened the app and closed it.  I used to see emails and mark them as unread with the purpose of responding at a later point.  Now I just forget about them!
  • That's what the follow up flag is for. I definitely like the way it works now... consistent with other notifications.
  • You should "flag" them then. If I'm not mistaking, flagged mail stay at the top.
  • The email tile thing is definitely strange. It would be nice to have 2 numbers on the tile-one for new emails and one for unread.
  • I call BS on the 'WP 10x better than the "brand name" Android/iOS apps'
  • look at myTube on windows phone. that thing is beautiful! arguably better than the official ios/android youtube apps
  • I second this motion. Idk how the Dev does it, but it us just so buttery smooth its insane. Even if I still only run a Lumia 900. Not saying it's bad or anything, but... Well you get the idea :P
  • Dude i agree they can't name more then one downloadable app that's as good as a major name one on android/iOS. I have all the platforms and can say the selection is rough at best maybe because I actually have something to compare it to at all times instead of just saying "nah ah!".
  • This is true, when I only had a WP I would always say that the 3rd party apps were better, and now that I switch from android to WP on a daily basis, and I actually had a galaxy nexus and iPhone for 3 months each in between my sprint Arrive and my L920, I don't think 3rd party apps are better, they are good alternatives but not better. I use runkeeper on Android, Caledos runner on WP the original is better, endomomdo is better on the other platforms, spotify I can't even play a song on my WP, so way better on Android, pocket is better elsewhere but the 3rd party app is okay, YouTube is better on Android. Be open to the truth, you don't have to cheer for Android or iOS just be sure you demand the best for your OS, don't be happy til it's there, complain to Microsoft, to windows phone, can we get something like google now? 
  • Metrotube and mytube for YouTube, mehdoh and gleek for twitter, Wikipedia (Rudy Huyn) for, well, Wikipedia. There's 5 that I have on my phone right now that are VASTLY--not just arguably--better than the official app on ANY platform, not to mention apps I don't currently have, like 4th and Mayor for foursquare. I'm no math wiz, but I'm pretty sure that 6>1...
  • Actually, more than 1/2 of the android devices are awful (more like 99%, how many good androids can you count?), I like the way MS controls the phones OEMs produce, it's better than having 1000 samsung galaxies, and lots of cheap chinese and indian brands, cheap in price is not bad (see the lumia 520), I mean cheap in quality
    and there is no app problem, there is a game problem
    BTW nokia has only 5 WP8 phones, I think there are 9 or 10 WP8 devices out there, which are enough
  • Lol, Nokia has released a handset for every android level at £100 and up. All the bases are covered sans phablet. Name three ios features we don't have. Not app, features.
  • Siri for iOS and Malware for Android. Best features for both. haha!
  • True about the malware problem. You wouldn't want to suggest an android to your granny with potential issues like that. Lumia 520 is perfect for new users.
  • We're past 5% in market share....YEAHHHH
  • No, that was the share of smartphones sold Q1 in the US. Edit: Now I'm not sure anymore. Ehm?
  • We are @8% April 1
  • Where is that 8% coming from ? Its bellow 2% according to this

  • That's very weard...
    I didn't knew that Samsung it's a mobile operating system.
    Something is definitely wrong with that counter.
  • More commercials please
  • Since there are so many Windows users (tablets, PC s, laptops, etc.) who don't even know that there is a Windows Phone, I think it'll be smart if they if they have a "For a seamless Windows experience...try Windows Phone..." during the boot up screen. Of course you should be able to disable this, but I think it'll reach millions more ppl that are actually using the platform already.
  • People would rage if they put ads in the OS, and so would I. That is a dangerous path to take.
  • Google will happily do it though.
  • Hehe... Of course! Since when has whores ever had dignity? ;)
  • Haha
  • Agree, that would be a terrible idea.  Instead, MS ought to work on providing Laptop/Tablet/Phone bundles or some kind of deal like they did for the Xbox 360 for students getting a new laptop a few summers back.
  • First and foremost they need to create awareness, because here in Sweden most people don't even know Windows Phone exist. I have not seen one add over here ever, but I guess we are not their main priority right now, the US is.
  • Cell companies in Sweden had 1 month of advertising on the "Amazing Everyday" on TV. After that they gave up. Company 3 had on there web site a deal, buy a WP and get a Xbox 360 4GB free. So there been some attempts.
  • If we all spread this;
    That's commercial that helps, maybe others want to try "the most satisfying ever" ;)
  • Agreed. Buy a windows laptop/desktop/tablet get an xbox or windowsphone free. Not exactly this but something to that extent would sell volumes.
  • The Xbox bundle sounds like a good idea. The next Xbox is the perfect opportunity to cross promote WP.
  • That's why I said there should be a way to completely disable this. I don't think that it should be on every screen in the OS, but right in the boot up area...again, my opinion.
  • The thing is that a line needs to be drawn somwhere and that is to NEVER EVER put ads in the OS. This is a matter of principle aswell. Also, the bad publicity from this would probably hurt them more than they gain.
  • Go us!! Haha
  • Nie lets release the 928 we we can triple our numbers
  • My wife is getting a 928 as soon as it launches and a friend of mine is considering switching to it from an iPhone.  I think we will be surprised the impact a flagship Nokia on Verizon will make on the growth of WP.
  • The 928 will be my next phone as well. Contract is up very soon. My Trophy has been a champ but it's nearing it's EOL.
  • More like LOL. My contract is up but im gonna buy it retail. I'd rather keep my old contract. But yes, this phone comes out im heading to Verizon and force them to take my money
  • My crystal ball says iOS and WP will have the most market share in the future. People will wake up the the complicated inconsistent interface and  security nightmare of Android.
  • Apple had a good run, but their IOS is gonna fade to below 10% and join OSX, exactly where they belong. Within three years we are gonna have foldable Windows 8 mini tablets as smartphones and the iPhone will be a distant memory.
  • it wont be a distant memory. Windows Phone will not be top dog, but neither shouldanyone else. people seem to not realize that picking a smartphone is like picking a pc: Get the one that meets your needs. Windows Phone meets a wide range of needs, but for those mac users (and hipsters), its not exactly integrated well into their ecosystem. Android has its place in the Dev and DIY community. I wouldnt be suprised to see in the not so distant future "build your own" phone kits that run android. to try and categorize the user base and what would be best: Simple business, IT, Dont want iPhone, and average consumer = Windows Phone Apple Ecosystem, Dont want Windows, hispters = iPhone Adnvanced IT, Advanced Business, Developers, DIY = Android 
  • I tend to think iOS will largely fade because of lack of options.  Apple's model of command and control does not lead to long term market domination.  Android will also fade, though I expect Samsung's OS to do quite well.  I suspect in the end that we may see LG, HTC, and others ending up in Windows Phone mostly - maybe even Blackberry if they survive.  Blackberry 10 has flailed at launch.  Frankly, they would have been ahead to take Microsoft's offer and become a premiere partner with Windows Phone along with Nokia. 
    I also think on the tablet side that Haswell coupled with Bay Trail will shake up that space.  Android and iOS cannot compete if a full featured install of Windows can run and be power efficient on a tablet, especially with dockable keyboards that extend battery life.  If you can get 7-9 hours on a Haswell tablet with a Core i5 - game over.  That is what I've heard Haswell can do.  Bay Trail brings quad-core x86-64 computing to Atom and will provide inexpensive Intel devices that can run new W8 apps and legacy. 
    MS got 7.5% of the tablet market with hardly any product in the pipeline - not including transformable devices.  Once the OEMs start deploying Haswell and Bay Trail, Android and iOS will be dead in the water on tablets.  If you can get an Intel tab for $500 or less at 10" and a $200-250 7" device that can run x86 even decently - GAME OVER.  Blue and Intel's new chipsets may bring the ARM tablet infrastructure to its knees.  And we'll see WP8 Intel devices in less than a year. 
  • We must be using the same crystal ball. I'm betting on that outcome as well.
  • can't quite see that.   Given iOS and Android's commanding market share it will take a long time for both of them to fade.   Now it is a scramble for third that Windows Phone needs to take.   There cannot be a lot of competing ecosystems, because the developers will not support so many.
    I think Samsung's OS will not get the foothold you think.
  • Those of you touting the security nightmare of Android are the same ones saying Microsoft Security Essentials isn't good enough for the Windows Security nightmare.  Thinking that Android with an installed base nearing a billion is going to disappear is the same as thinking Microsoft going to fall off a cliff with a billion plus users.
  • Malware issues from their own google play store is a very different issue to malware downloaded via the browser through dodgy websites. I'm an ex android user, I don't want to have these issues on my phone.
  • On a PC, with all the freedoms afforded by it, I am willing to tolerate some risk. On a phone however, I expect 100% reliability and security. Many people feel similarly. Many are absolutely aghast after encountering their first Android infection. Few even consider that possible. That will affect androids popularity going forward.
  • Wow, this is actually pretty good news.  And with Lumia 521 and 928 coming soon, I think those numbers will get even better.  Once we hit the 10% mark you can be sure things will change with 3rd party app developers.  While I think the app difference is vastly overhyped, there are a lot of times I see a product advertise companion apps and WP is never on their list.
  • +10000000
  • Any kind of headway is good news. Lately, I've encountered quite a few with Windows Phones (mainly Nokias). I guess this only means that Nokia will get even more resources to put into making even more headway. Microsoft needs to get on the ball though. They can't afford anymore screw ups.
  • Simple =/= simplistic. "Simplistic" is always derogatory. "Simple" usually is not.
  • Before everybody blows their load. 
    I think this report is showing the market share in sales for the period, not devices in the market.  That is what comscore is reporting i think, that is why you are seeing different numbers and comscore reporting BB in 3rd place because there are a flood of old BB devices out there.  I think this is the case anyway. 
    So 5.6 % market share, not good, but growing quarter per quarert,but if they can get to 10% by years end, will be start of something big.  This is not out of the picture as well with new phones incoming. 
  • I see what you're saying. The article says that WP accounted for 5.6 percent of sales for the past 3 months.. Not sure what that puts the total market share at, and I've always been confused about what the actual MS is.. I think the real numbers will show by the end of the year.
  • Good, good!
  • I am a staunch Apple guy but my wife is dead set on a new Lumia.   Windows Phone is a solid product. And looking at the lower cost but excellent quality products Nokia is putting out, The platform will grow.
  • What would make you consider switching to WP?
  • What phone is pictured in the story? It looks amazing.
  • Gonna say it's the Samsung Ativ.
  • That's the back of a Samsung ATIV S.
  • Didn't realize that's what the back looked like. I do like the metal look.
  • I concur, I feel like Bart Simpson when he hold's something metal, his amazement and wonder. So yes, do miss that in Windows Phone and will be curious as to Catwalk. Would like to see a Windows Phone version of the HTC One, which kind of makes me drool.
  • Thats the ativs. Yes it looks amazing in the picture but dissappointed me when i saw it up close and almost chased me out of the store when i held cos i was forced to compare it to my lumia 920 and it felt like the work of a fresh university graduate. At least thats the way i perceived it.
  • Haha, yeah ok man. It looks really awesome in person, too. Like a smaller version of my Note 2.
    I would have kept it over my 920, but it didn't support the right LTE bands for AT&T which the Rogers site said it did, so I unfortunately went back to the 920. The larger screen, battery, and SD slot were great though. 
  • Ha, I just asked that, guess I should've read the comments. I like that phone. It looks pretty, I like the idea of a physical home button. And home/start is the same thing don't try and tell yourself different. I think Microsoft should sell all the phones unlocked from the Microsoft website. And call them signature series, capable of running on any carrier.
  • That's a great idea!!
  • An ATIV S picture is used and its not available in the US :D
  • I thought exactly the same thing... But it is coming to Sprint! And it's a GREAT device. I love mine!
  • "The research firm noted that from its own survey, 52 percent of people who swapped to Windows Phone had a feature handset beforehand. By contrast, 55 percent of people who had bought an iPhone had previously owned another smartphone.
    It's believed that Windows Phone will continue to capture more consumers who are looking to advance up the ladder to the smartphone world. There's a large proportion of consumers in the US who still use a feature phone."
    That's a couple of interesting facts which bode well for WP.    However I would like to know the number of people in the US who still use a feature phone.
  • I'm pretty sure is close to 50/50 now because I was reading yesterday that smartphone sales just barely surpassed feature phone sales for the first time recently. If this is true then it could be 49-51% of people out there who still have feature phones, and that's a huge number.. MS, and its partners better get moving, and fast!
  • So that is good news.  I was unaware that so many people still had feature phones, if MS is tending towards picking up more first time users, then that trajectory maybe quite helpful for MS and Windows Phones.
  • Yeah, but awareness needs to be increased greatly.. We need more marketing in the form informative television commercials, and they need not let up on the amount of commercials that are shown. I'm getting sick of saying this year after year.. They should just put me in charge of Marketing.. I would spend $1 billion the first year on tv commercials alone!! Seriously!!
  • As much as I hate to admit it, Windows Phone success hinges on all those people getting ready to purchase their first real smart phone. Get them locked into the ecosystem just like apple did and they will stay because it's too much hassle to switch. 
  • Agree.
  • having something be too much of a hassle to switch is always a inferior way of viewing that issue. Once should make it easy to switch, but instead focus on having the best product. For instance MS recently put out a product that allows Android users to switch to WP and find the same or similar products in the Store as they had in Play. If you cannot make an easy switch, then you are only focusing on the untapped market, which will not exist for ever. One will need to at times induce someone who is already in a different ecosystem to switch.
  • Ahh beautiful Ativ S!
  • +100
  • They gave me an Android phone at work. I lasted two weeks. If there ever was an operating system designed by a committee, it would be Android. I don't know how its run of success can last. The integration and aesthetic of an OS like WP, iOS or BB10 is far superior in my view; my Lumia is far more relaxing and efficient to operate.
  • What phone is this in the picture? Or is it a fake? I like it.
  • Probably Samsung Odessey or Ativ
  • Ativ. Odessey looks like crap.
  • From the beginning MS has said they will be in it for the long run.  I hope the success continues.  Lets look forward to the Nokia May 21st announcement!
  • Here, Here!!
  • Nokia announcement May 14th
    Xbox announcement May 21st
  • I will say I have a920 and surface rt for work I have a iPad and iPhone. I'm starting to like apple products alot the UI is beautiful and smooth
  • Ha, Gay!
  • HAHA, 920 is great, but the RT is much worse than an iPad, personal experience. 
  • That Ativ...
  • I bought WP to get away from Google. Nuff said.
  • And you used the picture of a Windows Phone not actually sold in the US...
  • What butt ugly phone is that?
  • An an IT pro I never choose Android. Only Windows.
  • LOL exactly!
  • Please change picture. Me like WP. Me no like $am$ung
  • That is a WP. A very good one.
  • Yes I know but I would've preferred a Nokia or HTC. Just personally ha.
  • The picture that illustrates an article should not be decided based on your liking.
  • Therefore it is only a suggestion :) The majority of WP users have a Nokia or HTC anyways..i think..
  • I understand your point, and respect your opinion.. But, I think we need to encourage Samsung WP sales because Samsung is currently making WP devices and we need all the support we can get.. Now, if it was a picture of a old LG, or Dell, device then I would have a problem.. Lol!
  • I hear you man!
  • So you like Micro$oft, but not Samsung?
    And because of this you would rather the picture be changed to HTC or Nokia... Odd ball no doubt.
  • Uh, I like WP. That may refer to M$ but seriously the point is I just don't like Samsung. And this isn't even suppose to be sth to reply to its such a minor comment c'mon man.
  • Thats fine, just dont understand why you would not like samsung for money reasons, but then like Micro$oft who charges for everything. 
    Not only that but M$ forces manufacturer to keep to hardware that is underperforming, including forcing them to not go above 768 x 1280 resolution screens.
    Coupled with M$ not letting you browse files on your phone, locking you into using Bing to search, and forcing you to use Internet Explorer as a browser... 
    M$ is extremely limiting and restrictive, while charging a premium for it. 
  • MS is not even close to Samsung IMO. MS is keeping the OS simple for simple navigations. I never need to browse files on my phone, Bing does the job fine and there are other 3rd party browsers out there if you don't like IE. Like iOS, it's not that they can't put in everything in a phone, they just don't because it is not necessary. Btw every company's actions should lead to their profits and I would understand why MS handles things that way.  The difference with Samsung is ever since the ugly S3 (their "own" design that didn't take cues from the iPhone), they've been milking this design to the last drop. You can line up a S3 - S4  / Note II - Mega(!) and probably cannot tell apart which phone is which, hell even the phablets look alike. (Before you jump into the iPhone clone thing, yes you can tell apart a 3GS / 4 and 5.  They've released 5-6 phones this past year with the same shape but different label slapped on. Talk about charging a premium for lazy design and "upgraded specs" that only gives you a slight boost in performance. I probably don't even have to mention the polycarbonate they use. It's not solid. "Durable" is just a marketing phrase they use to hide how cheap it is. Guess how much these phones cost? Finally the Ativ is no different from a GS2 except the back is slapped with a "aluminum" STICKER. Talk about ripping consumers off. With what they're doing mentioned above, it's not hard to see they're pissing on consumers by using specs as a camoflauge. Even though they may have the best specs, despite the performance boost being only a little, I don't appreciate their attitude towards making "new things". 
  • Just has to add, in the US we couldn't buy the new BB Z10 in March. I think it launched in April If I'm not mistaken. So that's why the sales were probably so low.
  • My Nokia and windows phone is great, before I using IPhone and I got tired from changing screen glasses , 4 times per 3 years almost 1 new phone that operation cost
  • Awesome. Small growth here and there but I really hope the best for WP. Its such a great os.
  • die BB die! >:3
  • Yes, it sure is.
  • For me the biggest problem with windows phone is that many apps which were free on android do get ported to windows phone but however they rarely get updated like the android and IOS versions eg. Angry birds, fruit ninja , amazing Alex etc..Also many apps which were free on other platforms are paid on WP.
  • They aren't free on Android. In the world of Google you pay another kind of price for it.
  • Exactly, that price is adverts. I especially like how Cocktail Flow is free on Android but you have to pay for the addon packages of drinks, unlike Windows Phone.
  • Coupled with terrible updating for the OS, and poor hardware restirictions, not to mention no file browsing and Bing..... WP8 needs a big refresh and Microsoft to step back.
  • I think you're in the wrong place, Android Central is three buttons over at the top of the page.
    We get it, you hate Windows Phone 8.
    Really, "terrible updating for the OS". You sure you aren't getting Windows Phone mixed up with Android!!!!
    The hardware restrictions are one of the best things about WP, it means that you don't get cheap phones with crappy performance like with Android!!
  • just got my lumia 920 yesterday and boy, I'm in love with it.  
    os is silky smooth and hardware is darn sturdy.  
  • This proves that Win 8 is a valid format here in the US, at least for now.  I love my Lumia 810 for its' simplicity.
  • Which phone is that on the picture?
  • That is the amazingly underrated Samsung Ativ S!
  • The bit about first time smartphone users is true.
    I picked up my lumia 810 a couple of months ago, as my first smartphone. Wp8 was honestly the thing that made me finally take the jump - that and tmobile's cheap monthly offerings. Android is too much of a mess for me to want to splurge a smartphon