Android maintains command of smartphone sales at Christmas

SALES of phones running Google’s Android operating system continued to grow over the Christmas period, despite the release of Apple’s iPhone 5.

Data from researchers Kantar Worldpanel found that Android increased its market share in key territories – the US, the UK, China and the EU – although Microsoft’s Windows Phone software is showing signs of life.

Android had a 54.4 per cent share of sales in the UK for the 12 week period to 23 December, which was slightly up on the overlapping period ending 25 November, and up from 43.9 per cent in the same stretch last year.

Apple took just under one third of the market. Windows Phone, which was revamped at the start of the period, saw encouraging rises, while BlackBerry continued to decline in the run up to the new wave of handsets set to be released at the end of this month.

Android has gained popularity across the world, with the software available to customers on a range of budgets, unlike Apple’s iPhones, which are deemed too pricey for many.

Kantar Worldpanel said Samsung was the UK’s biggest handset seller, with 35 per cent of sales over the period compared to Apple’s 32 per cent. More than four in five phones sold in the UK are now smartphones.