Research from two sources indicates that Google search fell 3 per cent year-on-year and that growth in its Android mobile operating system may finally be slowing.
Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said, “At the end of 2012 the global OS picture shows Android on top, but clearly the rate of growth it experienced over the past year is beginning to slow as easy wins from first time smartphone buyers begin to reduce.”
Microsoft's Windows Phone however is experiencing strong European growth, particularly in Britain and Italy, with shares hitting 5.9 per cent and 13.9 percent respectively – up from 2.2 per cent and 2.8 per cent a year ago.
Meanwhile in search, Google market share dropped below 90 per cent for the second month in a row to 88 per cent, its lowest in five years. Rival search engines Bing, Yahoo! and Ask all increased market share.
In what was the largest month ever for online search, boosted by growing Christmas interest in online shopping, Google sites accounted for 88.35 per cent of all searches conducted in the UK in December 2012, up by 0.77 per cent from November 2012.
Microsoft rose by 0.19 per cent to 4.99 per cent, while Ask jumped the most, rising 0.52 per cent to 2.59 per cent of all December searches.
Overall there were 2.8 billion visits to UK retail sites and 656 million of these occurred in the week ending 29 December. This equates to a 30 per cent year-on-year increase.
James Murray, Digital Insight Manager, Experian Marketing Services said “Clearly, Google still maintains a huge competitive edge over the other search engines in the UK market. There are seven times more searches conducted on Google Sites than on all the other search engines combined. However, this is encouraging news for Microsoft as Bing once again starts to gain some momentum and traction in the UK search market.”
Mr Murray added that Bing’s position on Microsoft phones, PCs and tablets had helped its position along with it becoming the default search engine on Facebook.
Mr Sunnebo also said that Microsoft was finally gaining a bigger toehold in mobile phone use. “It has been far slower than Microsoft would have liked, but Windows Phone is now starting to gain respectable shares in a number of key European countries. However, its performance in the Chinese and US markets remains underwhelming. As the two largest smartphone markets in the world these remain key challenges for Microsoft to overcome during 2013.”
Android held the number one spot in key world markets including Britain, China, Spain, Australia and Germany, however Apple's iOS is on top in the US and Japan.
Of the handset manufacturers, Samsung retained the number one spot in Britain, claiming 35 per cent compared to Apple’s 32 per cent. Nokia claimed 6.2 per cent, growing by over 50 per cent compared with last year. More than one in five handsets bought as gifts in Britain during December were from Tesco, as overall smartphone percentage penetration in Great Britain hit 61 per cent.