Last Updated: March 29, 2021
Android is the most used OS in the world.
Even Windows lags behind the widespread adoption of the functional smartphone platform owned by Google. iOS is not even close.
When it comes to mobile devices, Apple has gained some ground over the last couple of years but Android still powers about 75% of all smartphones and tablets.
But market share doesn’t do justice to the utter dominance of Android.
The detailed stats in the captivating infographic below do.
Let’s be honest – it’s an Android and iOS world, we just live in it. The two cutting-edge smartphone operating systems have the leading market shares. And that’s so easy to prove. The guy next to you is probably surfing the Web on his fancy iPhone or browsing social media on the newest Android device.
But what was thought for years to be Apple’s domain might just prove to be an Android-dominated world.
Take a look at a few fascinating facts about the huge market share Android enjoys:
- In 2010 Android had less than 5% of the market share worldwide
- In 2020, Android had the bigger part of the marketing share – 87%
- Android sales are rising in the US, Europe, Japan and India, but not in China
- 25% of the US market as of Q3, 2019 belongs to Samsung, making it Android’s biggest partner
- Android is the world’s largest operating system
- Its share of all know devices was 37.93% in March 2017
- Android managed to beat not only iOS, but Windows too
1. In 2016, Android had 88% of market share. In 2020, it was still going strong at 87%.
(Source: Quartz, IDC)
When Android first launched in 2008, it was very hard to imagine it had a shot at stealing Apple’s thunder. After all, iOS was the leading operating system. It was laughable to even think that the rugged newcomer would one day conquer the market.
Back in 2010, Android had less than 5% share. Their chances against Apple seemed slim to none.
Things changed in 2013, when Android had its big breakthrough. In just three years Android managed to acquire a record 88% of the mobile device market share. There were also over 328 million devices sold worldwide, as Android historic stats show.
So not only did Android reach iOS’ level, it managed to outshine it.
2. The Android market share fell down to 74% in 2017.
And while the percentage might have fallen, this hardly means Google is dethroned. iOS now dominates the tablet market, with a 65% market share but when it comes to smartphones, the queen bee is Android.
3. China is the only place in the world, where Android’s sales are declining.
US, Europe, and Japan were iOS’s first, second and fourth largest markets. Operative word: “Were”. Turns out, they now belong to Android, along with the market in India.
What about China, you’re asking.
Well, here comes the interesting part.
China and Google are waging their own private Cold war. You can read more about it in the ‘Fun Facts’ section at the end of this article. To put it simply, China has banned or restricted most of Google’s apps. Understandably, the people there now opt for local brands, such as Oppo, Xiaomi, LeEco, etc.
4. Samsung is the leader of Android’s band with 30% of the US market as of 2018. In 2020, it owned 25% of the market.
(Source: MarketingLand, Statista)
Apple’s market share is 45% which more than ensures its dominant position. Still, Android can rely on other brands such as LG, Motorola, and HTC, which combined have 15% of the market. Add around 10% more Android devices, courtesy of Sony, and you’ll surely figure out who runs their show.
As Statista can tell us, Samsung’s market share in the fourth quarter of 2018 was 18.7 %. Samsung shipped more than 292 million smartphones worldwide in the same year. That easily makes them the leading smartphone vendor.
As of 2018, the most popular smartphones by brand are Samsung and Huawei. iPhone has taken the honorable third place, according to IDC. Huawei also appears to be the leader in China, which helps it build a better image and to secure its presents in the smartphone market.
Back in the day, Samsung passed up the chance to buy Android. In 2004, Andy Rubin, one of the masterminds behind the operating system, turned to Samsung for further funding of their project. The team from Samsung refused their offer, because they “didn’t see potential”.
5. Android is the world’s most used operating system.
Yeah, you heard that right.
Android managed to beat even Windows when it comes to usage share.
But what exactly is usage share and why should you care about it?
As defined by Wikipedia, usage share is the share of computing devices that run a given operating system at a particular moment in time.
This is huge, people. Android doesn’t only dominate the smartphone operating systems market share, it also has its eyes set on tablets and personal computers.
2017 was the first year in the history of Windows existence where the giant didn’t come first in terms of online activity. We can attribute this to people accessing the internet mainly from their smartphones. You know, life on the go and all.
Watch out, Windows. Android is quite adept at stealing the crown, as we just saw. Could it be that there’s a secret world domination plan being set in motion behind the scenes?
Now that we’ve talked about Android’s market share quite a lot, we can move on to another important topic. One that we have yet to discuss. A dispute that has divided the world. The controversy of our century.
Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come for us to try and answer the most anticipated question.
The Earth is actually square.
The million dollar question is:
Which is better – Android or iOS?
The first and maybe most formidable difference is the price. You can find Android devices all across the pricing spectrum. Apple’s devices are definitely high-end. Unless, of course, you buy an older model phone, which is a deadly sin in the age of consumerism. Also, as stated in Quartz, Google Play apps are registering more downloads and purchases in poorer countries. That means if you want budget-friendly, you’ll go for one of Android’s partners.
Speaking of partners, there’s a huge variety of manufacturers for Android smartphones. Something that can’t be said about Apple. We’re talking about Samsung, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Nokia, and Sony, among others. iOS, on the other hand, can be found only on iPhones and iPads. It doesn’t hold a candle to Android’s huge ecosystem.
It’s a bit like the Vatican – Italy situation. We all know which is bigger, but we can’t really have a discussion about importance.
The next big thing we should compare are apps. At the time of writing, Android stats report that there are 3.4 million apps available at Google’s Play Store. And most of them are free. This goes a long way to explain why Android had those 88% of marketing share in 2016.
On the other hand, there are only 2.2 million apps on the App Store.
Something smells fishy.
Well, if you too think that there’s something wrong here, we know the reason why – while the App Store might offer less variety, most apps are first developed for iOS. Some of them don’t even make it to Google Play Store.
Android devices are also easily customizable. While you can customize iOS devices too, they hardly allow you that much freedom with themes and widgets.
We should give it to iOS, though. Their updates are faster, they always have the latest features, bug fixes, and security updates. Something that not all Android operating systems can brag about.
But we can’t deny it – Android has come a long way since it launched in 2008. From a small startup company with huge ambitions, to the world’s leading operating system. And it’s all because Andy Rubin didn’t give up and Larry Page, Google’s co-founder and the company’s president of products, saw potential where many didn’t.
As a result, they didn’t only end the monopoly of iOS – they also overtook Windows. Android is now the world’s largest operating system, with the biggest marketing share of them all. So here’s to never giving up.
Fun Facts about Android
The Android story is not as straightforward as you may think. Some curiosities and surprises surround the OS.
1. Android was not originally made by Google.
Android was bought by Google from a company called Android Inc (bet ya didn’t expect that one). The company was founded in 2003 by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Chris White and Nick Sears.
2. It is based on the Linux operating system.
It wasn’t intended as a smartphone operating system. In fact, it was originally designed as a digital camera platform. Guess back than no one expected Android will have such a huge market share just a few years later.
3. Except for the first two, all of Android’s other operating systems are named after sweets and desserts.
And they are also alphabetical. We have Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jellybean, KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow, Noughat, Oreo and Pie.
4. If you go to Settings and continuously press the version number in the ‘About’ section, you will uncover a secret Easter Egg.
Here’s something you can’t find on iPhones or Windows phones.
But frankly, I think Oreo’s special surprise is a bit creepy.
5. Android means “male robot”.
While we can use “android” to reference robots with human features in general, a robot that resembles a female can also be referred to as a “gynoid”.”
6. China banned Google Maps, Gmail, and even restricted some of Google’s search functions, which made it the only market not ruled by Android
We already dipped our toes into this topic and mentioned that China and Google are waging their own private Cold War, with China blocking or restricting most of Google’s apps.
China also blocked Google+, Google Hangouts, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest, and many more. The Chinese government doesn’t want foreign tech companies spying on them and collecting data from their citizens. There are currently Chinese alternatives for all the famous sites, apps and productive tools, such as Baidu, Youku, Blogcn, WeChat, Weibo, etc.
The impressive Android stats fall short of worldwide domination.
7. Android was actually a nickname given to Andy Rubin.
His former colleagues at Apple called him “Android” because of his love of robots. Turns out, he doesn’t only like working with them, he likes building them. There’s the story of a giant robotic arm he build in his spare time in Building 44, Android’s dwelling place at Google’s campus. The purpose of this arm? Making Andy coffee.
Good luck getting on that level.
8. Android’s logo was inspired by a bathroom sign.
The green robot logo was designed by Irina Block. Where do you think her inspiration came from? Bathroom door signs. Bet you can’t unsee it now.
We hope we provided you with some valuable insights about Android’s marketing share and that you found our fun facts as entertaining as we did. See you soon!