The Nokia Lumia 520 still most widely used Windows Phone in 2016 and that's a problem

January's AdDuplex report does little to bolster the position of Microsoft's Windows Phone. The report reveals changes within the Windows Phone ecosystem as opposed to comparing it to Android and iOS sales. In turn, it shows some interesting bits about OS version growth and which Windows Phones sell the best and where.

Windows 10 on 10%

Windows 10 Mobile continues to take a slice of the Windows Phone OS pie with 9.5 percent for the month of January. That is an increase of 0.7 percent from last month, but as AdDuplex notes that number is likely driven more from new hardware adoption (e.g. Lumia 550, 950, and 950 XL) rather than new Insiders. The latter group may have finally peaked with late adopters now waiting for official updates rather than jumping into the risky tester pool.

Windows Phone 8.1 still dominates at 77.7 percent, but Windows 10 Mobile is on more devices than Windows Phone 8.0 at just 8.4 percent.

Lumia 520 is still king

Back in early 2013, the Lumia 520 became the shocking buffer that saved Windows Phone. Seemingly out of nowhere, the phone was quickly being used by many new faces. Priced right with robust features for the time the Lumia 520 was a precursor to the quality budget phone craze that later took the industry. As noted in our previous coverage, it only took one year for the Lumia 520 to become the most popular Windows Phone in 2014.

Unfortunately, Android OS and Chinese manufacturers came onto the scene and stole Nokia's thunder. Soon after the market was flooded with just as good – if not better – spec'd budget phones with a more popular OS. Nokia – and eventually Microsoft – have been unable to capture that lightning in the bottle again ever since.

Looking at January's numbers and in 2016 the Lumia 520 continues to represent 12.9 percent of all Windows Phones globally more than any other (the Lumia 535 is next at 11.7 percent).

The fact that a phone announced three years ago is still the king of Windows Phones puts things into perspective. Nokia and later Microsoft have been unable to convert those 520 owners into owners of newer or better Windows phones.

Devices like the Lumia 640 (6.3 percent) and Lumia 640 XL (3.3 percent) have done admirable especially if you consider them the same phone (for 9.6 percent total) with just slightly different specifications. Those phones were announced just under one year ago.

Unfortunately, there are no data points for the new Lumia 550, Lumia 950, or Lumia 950 XL. Considering the pricing of at least two of those and the late launch of the Lumia 550, perhaps that is not too surprising. It is not reassuring either, as no one, not even Microsoft, are expecting those phones to push any real numbers.

Still, it would have been nice to have been surprised by this AdDuplex report.

BLU overtakes Huawei

Another interesting bit is that BLU with their Win HD and Win JR phones (0.27 percent) have barely passed Huawei (0.26 percent) for Windows Phone manufacturers. Considering Huawei has not had a phone in years, it is surprising it took this long.

Despite efforts from BLU companies like Samsung (0.59 percent) and HTC (1.21 percent) still have double and quadruple the market share. Brand names matter, folks.

Lumping Nokia and Microsoft devices into one group and the legacy duo still make up a massive 96.97 percent of all Windows Phones. That number is virtually unchanged as newer OEMs like Acer and Alcatel OneTouch have yet to launch any new products with Windows 10 Mobile.

Around the world

Finally, the AdDuplex report takes a look at some individual countries for their breakdown of Windows Phone usage. Here are some highlights:

  • Lumia 640 continues to gain with a 1.7 percent increase, and it now makes up 18.2 percent of all Windows Phones in the US
  • Lumia 640 (10.6 percent) overtook the Lumia 930 (8.9 percent) in Germany for second most popular Windows Phone
  • Lumia 640 has added 1.7 percent in Italy for a total of 6.9 percent along with the Lumia 640 XL (4 percent) surpassing the Lumia 820; the Lumia 630 is still the most popular with 14.9 percent
  • Lumia 640 has gained 3.9 percent in Poland to become the second most popular device; Lumia 535 added 2.1 percent and is still the top with 16.6 percent of all Windows Phones in that country
  • Lumia 535 makes up a massive 29.8 percent of all Windows Phones in Indonesia for the top spot; Lumia 520 is next with 22 percent

Overall, the landscape remains largely the same with older, budget devices still reigning. Newer phones have yet to make an appearance, and the playfield is looking rather dated for 2016.

This Thursday, Microsoft is expected to announce its quarterly report, and the news for Windows Phone will be disappointing if you were expecting any shifts.

You can read our previous AdDuplex Report coverage right here

About AdDuplex

The numbers from AdDuplex are collected through their in-app advertising that is prevalent in over 5,000 apps in the Windows Phone Store. That data serve as an important metric within the Windows Phone ecosystem. The full AdDuplex report for January will be posted tomorrow, January 28 on

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.