620The British and the French love Windows Phone, apparently!

New research this morning from Kantar Worldpanel shows Microsoft’s mobile operating system making sizable gains in some parts of Europe in the second quarter — rising to 9 percent of the market in France (from 2.3 percent a year earlier) and 8.6 percent in Great Britain (from 4.5 percent a year earlier).

Why is this happening? Kantar’s Dominic Sunnebo says lower-end smartphones, such as the Lumia 520 and 620, “are quietly driving its momentum.”

“It is vital for Windows to be seen as a mainstream alternative to Android and iOS rather than a niche platform,” says Sunnebo. “Selling large volumes of lower end smartphones is a good way of getting Windows seen in the hands of potential customers’ friends and family, convincing them there isn’t a risk in choosing the operating system. The majority of people are trend followers, not trend setters, so Windows needs to get as many smartphones to market as quickly as possible.”

Android is still dominant in Europe, but Kantar’s research shows the iPhone making gains in some regions thanks to new smartphone buyers opting for the iPhone 4. In Great Britain, for example, iOS rose to 30.5 percent of the market (up from 25.3 percent a year ago) while Android slipped to 56.2 percent, from 57.2 percent a year earlier.

In the U.S., Kantar’s research shows Windows Phone having a tougher time of it. In the U.S., Windows Phone is now reaching 4 percent of the market, up from 2.9 percent a year ago, but down from its position of 4.6 percent earlier this year.

 

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