NPD: Android Has Market Share, But Windows Phone Has Mindshare

Steve Ballmer presenting Windows Phone - Microsoft CES 2011

Given how low the sales figures have been for Windows Phone-based devices up to now, it’s hard to believe that purchasing intent can be enough to turn things around. But if you believe the news from the analysts at NPD, that could give Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) just the boost it needs — that, and some marketing so that more users start to realize that it exists at all.

Figures out today from The NPD Group’s Connected Intelligence service, which surveys U.S. consumers, largely confirm what other analysts have been telling us: Android is bringing home the bacon when it comes to smartphone purchases, accounting for at least half of all smartphone purchases in the last three quarters.

Android also scores as the most “preferred operating system” among current smartphone owners and those who intend to buy a smartphone. And NPD says it generates the most interest among consumers, both from those already using Android devices and those on other platforms. Example: one-third of current BlackBerry owners say they want Android devices the next time around.

In all, some 50 percent of respondents said they were going to purchase a smartphone next, once again underscoring how much smartphones have come along compared to feature phones.

But here’s a curious fact: when all mobile users who either owned a smartphone or intended to purchase one were asked about what kinds of devices they want to buy next, 44 percent also said that they were considering Windows Phone 7 devices — meaning that the door is open for significantly more sales of Windows Phone 7 devices, if Microsoft and OEMs (and specifically its newest and biggest OEM, Nokia) get their acts together.

That is no mean feat: Android and iOS are covered tons in the media, and Windows Phone — surprisingly for a Microsoft product — seems to have missed the boat on brand awareness. An embarrassing 45 percent of consumers surveyed by NPD said they were unaware of Windows Phone 7.

And among the 50 percent of consumers who said they will be buying a smartphone, but didn’t want to buy a Windows Phone, the biggest reason, accounting for 46 percent of respondents, was because they didn’t know enough about the Windows Phone OS.

NPD notes that the second-most used reason was OS lock-in — too much time or money invested in the current OS. (And that’s one more reason why it’s so important to have app stores — even if they don’t make much money for the OEMs hosting them.)

According to figures from Gartner, Microsoft’s mobile platforms (mainly Windows Phone devices) took just 1.6 percent of all sales of smartphones worldwide in Q2 2011; Android was well in the lead, accounting for 43.4 percent of all sales.


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