Windows Phone, Nokia Building Global Momentum: Report

Windows Phone's market share grew in nearly every global market, according to a new report. Android, now 90 percent in Spain, is dwarfing all rivals.

Nokia and Microsoft's Windows Phone OS are gaining traction in the highly competitive global smartphone market, according to the latest report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Windows Phone was on one out of 10 smartphones that sold in five major European markets during the three months that ended in September, said the report. And in Italy, the OS even managed to overtake Apple's iOS (though the report noted that August is historically Apple's slowest month, as consumers wait for the latest release to arrive in the fall).

The growth of Windows Phone almost entirely depends on sales of Nokia phones, which have also shown signs of growth in Latin America.

"Nokia dominated in Latin America for many years, and while its popularity declined with the fortunes of Symbian, it now has an opportunity to regain the top spot," Dominic Sunnebo, a strategic insight director at the firm, said in a Nov. 4 statement.

"The majority of consumers in Latin America still own a Nokia feature phone, and upgrading to an entry-level Lumia is the logical next step. Price is the main barrier in developing markets, and the budget Lumia 520 opens the door to smartphone ownership for many."

It Latin America, Windows Phone's share rose to 5.8 percent during the three months, compared with 4.5 percent a year ago. This was just under iOS, which rose to a 6.6 percent share. Both companies were thoroughly outdone by Android, which jumped to a 73.4 percent share of the market, compared with 50.3 percent a year ago.

China was the only market Kantar measures where Windows Phone didn't rise year-over-year. The OS doubled or did better, though, in France (up to 10.7 percent, from 5.2 percent), Australia (9.3 percent, versus 4.6 percent) Great Britain (11.4 percent, up from 4.2 percent) and Germany (8.5 percent, versus 2.5 percent).

In Italy, Windows Phone held a 13.7 percent share of the market in September, while iOS had just 10.2.

Nokia is in the process of selling its handset business to Microsoft. On Oct.29, it announced the results of its 2013 third quarter, which included sales of 8.8 million Lumia smartphones—its highest Lumia sales figure to date.

Android's Global Dominance

While Windows Phone took steps toward solidifying itself as the third major platform (BlackBerry's share fell year-over-year in every market Kantar measured, except Australia, where it posted 0.9 percent growth), Android's dominance expanded.

In China, Android's share of the market grew to 81.1 percent, while in Spain it pressed to 90 percent.

According to Kantar's Sunnebo, congestion in the smartphone market is leading consumers in emerging markets to favor local brands. Domestic manufacturers made 44 percent of the smartphones sold during the latest quarter, compared with 30 percent a year ago.

Android-supporting Huawei, Xiaomi, Lenovo and Coolpad are "particularly popular" brands outside of China's largest cities, said the report, citing the value they offer.

"Chinese consumers are prepared to make a huge investment in their smartphone, with some spending up to 70 percent of their monthly salary on a new device," said Sunnebo.

"With such a high investment, Chinese consumers want to get the best value for money and are increasingly opting for a high-spec local brand over a low-spec global equivalent," he added. "The message for global manufactures is clear: Chinese consumers demand value."