The Norwegian mobile phone market: moving from gut feelings to facts

Bjørn Fogh
Bjørn Fogh | 22 October, 2019

Being experts on mobile app, our partners and clients often ask us about the market shares of iOS and Android. There seems to be a general consensus about the percentage of users on each platform, but we wanted to have a look at some actual facts. Based on looking into analytics data for popular Norwegian apps used by more than 2.5 million Norwegians, here is what we discovered.

We all remember back in 2013 where the internet was filled with countless discussions on which operating system was the best. The discussions were almost just as polarized as today’s political climate in the US. It was like iOS users and Android users where from different planets. The users in the Android-camp consisted of people wanting full control over their phone, where they can customize the phone the way they want and hated the non-customizable iPhone. iOS users would gladly pay for design, comfortable UX and sleekness even if the hardware was claimed to be overpriced and didn’t really offer any technical superiority over the Android devices.  

On a global scale, around 80% of the smartphones on the market run a version of Android, while around 20% run iOS. Perhaps even more interesting, of a population of 7.7 billion people on Earth, 4 billion people own a smartphone. This means that there are 4 times as many smartphones as there are credit cards on Earth.

Norway is different from the rest of the world

With an 80/20% distribution between Android and iOS on a global scale, the numbers in Norway show quite a different picture. In our research we found that 67% of the users of popular apps in Norway use iOS, while the rest (33%) use Android. Which means that the relationship between iOS and Android in Norway is the opposite of that in the world on average. These numbers are based on active usage of the apps we examined.

Marketshare

We have collected data on market share based on each operating system and which models are being most usedin the Norwegian market. 

Market share by vendor and model

By looking at the market share of vendor and model, we will get an overview of which manufacturers and models that are most attractive. In this picture we’ll get an impression one where the market share is headed and what type of models are being most used.

We’ll break up this section in two parts; the market share of smartphones in the Norwegian market, and market share per model. 

Market share per smartphone vendor

Market_share_vendor-1

 

Source: Statcounter GlobalStats (September 2019): Mobile vendor market share Norway.

If we look at the market share of smartphone vendors in Norway (Sept. 2016 - Sept. 2019), it’s clear that Apple and Samsung dominates the market. It’s also interesting to see that there are significant spikes in Apple’s favour when they release new models in september. When Samsung releases their S-series in March, the effect it has on Apple’s market share is first shown one to two months post release. 

In the bottom, the only company that has emerged is Huawei, from 3% to 12%. Others (HTC, Motorola, Nokia, etc..) seems to have lost traction in the competition. It looks more like Huawei have taken market shares from “others” rather than from Apple and Samsung as they have more or less maintained their position in the last three years. 


Most popular phones per operating system

Looking at the figures over most used devices, it’s interesting to see that a great proportion of smartphone models circulating in the market are 2-3 years old. In addition, Samsung’s mid-range series (A-series) didn’t even make the list. 

This can imply two things; consumers are waiting to upgrade their phones, or consumers are buying older flagship models. What’s common for both of these explanations is that we know that innovation in smartphones has gone from being disruptive to incremental. With consumers facing a price tag of 900$+ for a newly released smartphones which offers a slight improvement from last years’ flagship model, it’s no wonder that consumers are waiting longer to upgrade their phones. Due to the small incremental changes between each release, it’s become harder for smartphone manufacturers to differentiate between new and older models.

Position

Phone Model

OS

Release year

Share

Change

1

iPhone 7

iOS

2016

9,63%

−1,67%

2

iPhone X

iOS

2017

7,07%

0,14%

3

iPhone 8

iOS

2017

6,68%

0,52%

4

iPhone 6S

iOS

2015

4,39%

−1,06%

5

iPhone SE

iOS

2016

3,83

1,51%

6

Galaxy S8

Android

2017

3,58%

−0,41%

7

iPhone XS

iOS

2018

3,46%

1,20%

8

Galaxy S9

Android

2018

3,41%

1,22%

9

iPhone 8 Plus

iOS

2018

3,04%

−0,30%

10

iPhone 6

iOS

2014

2,85%

0,07%

11

iPhone XS Max

iOS

2018

2,62%

1,17%

12

iPhone 7 Plus

iOS

2016

2,60%

−1,24%

Source: DeviceAtlas (September 2019): The Most Popular Smartphones in Q2 2019 (Norway).

The fact that Apple and Samsung are still dominating the smartphone market might not come as a big surprise. But when we drill down and get an overview of which models that are currently being used, it might come as a surprise that a large proportion of phones are of older age. 

One issue with the “old” smartphones are that there are hardware and software limitations that slow down the innovation pace in when building capabilities and UX in apps. 

An example is the development of frictionless payments for in-app purchases and purchases done through Apple- and Google-Pay. With PSD2 just launched, one of the requirements is that a payer needs to be authenticated by at least two factors by the Payment Service Providers (PSP). These authenticators are listed in the table below:

Category

Description

Example

Knowledge

Something only the payer knows

A password

Possession

Something the payer has/owns

A registered mobile phone

Inherence

Something the payer is

A biometric (faceID, fingerprint, voice recognition, etc..)

Considering that we now live in a “one-click” generation, the optimal user experience when designing UX for payments is by the use of biometrics as it solves the problem related to typing and remembering passwords. Since biometrics are performed on the payers mobile device, and the mobile phone is tied up to a payment card. This overall solution will fulfill possession and inherence requirements. 

However, the problem is that not all phones support these capabilities. Most phones in our list support biometric log in, but we can assume that there are at least a small fraction that do not support it. This means that it’s too early to sunset previous log-in requirements (SMS one time password (OTP), E-mail OTP, CVV, etc..). From an app developer perspective, this means that we still need to build multiple log in capabilities.

Topics

android "iOS"