There is some good news for Microsoft’s ongoing efforts in mobile devices (after all the flak drawn for its Surface RT tablets), as research firm Kantar Worldpanel says today that for the three months to July 2013, Windows Phone made up 8.2 percent of smartphone sales across five major European markets, its highest-ever level.

The report looked at data from the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Windows Phone 8 was touted as Microsoft’s big move to combat iOS and Android, and now Kantar says that it makes up around one in 10 smartphone sales in the UK, France, Germany and Mexico. For the first time, the platform took the number two spot in a major world market, Kantar says, making up 11.6 percent of smartphone sales in Mexico.

Kantar notes that Windows Phone’s growth isn’t coming from former Apple or Android customers, as only 27 percent of Apple and Android users switch operating systems with their replacement handsets. Instead, the Windows Phone is attracting consumers who are transitioning from feature phones to smartphones. Dominic Sunnebo, the strategic insight director at Kantar, says:

Windows Phone’s success has been in convincing first time smartphone buyers to choose one of its devices with 42 percent of sales over the past year coming from existing feature phone owners. This is a much higher proportion than Android and iOS. The Lumia 520 is hitting a sweet spot, offering the price and quality that new smartphone buyers are looking for.

If Microsoft keeps up its momentum, it still has a lot of potential for growth. Kantar notes that smartphone penetration in Great Britain was at 66 percent in July, and 85 percent of mobile devices sold in the past three months were smartphones.

Windows Phone is facing intense competition though. Kantar notes that globally iOS and Android continue to dominate sales. Android is stronger across the major European markets and China where it made up around 70 percent of smartphone sales in the past quarter, while Apple has grown its share to 43.4 percent of smartphone sales in the US and is showing strong on-year growth in the UK, France and Mexico.

BlackBerry, on the other hand, is continuing to experience a dismal downturn. According to Kantar, it now only accounts for 2.4 percent of sales across the big five European markets and a mere 1.2 percent in the US.

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