This discussion was initiated by Richard Aboulafia, who predicted a 60% market share for the A320neo. Boeing's VP Marketing Randy Tinseth soon dismissed that, saying that he believes Boeing will have a 50% market share with the B737MAX (and he would do a bad job if he would not do so, of course).
Of course we will not know the real market share until both products will be in service for a number of years and how backlogs and production rates will be then. Today we can only compare the number of orders and how they change over time. The absolute numbers are not an indication itself as Airbus has a production head start with the A320neo and therefore should have more orders in hand.
The A320neo was launched in December 2010 with the first order placed in that month by Virgin America and made public in January 2011.
The B737MAX had a "soft launch" in July 2011 when American Airlines split their narrowbody order between the A320ceo/A320neo and the B737NG/"re-engined" B737. This "re-engined" new version of the B737 later became the B737MAX. The first firm order was recorded in December 2011 and came from Southwest Airlines.
Entry into service of the A320neo will (presumably) be in November 2015, the B737MAX is announced to be ready for launch customer Southwest Airlines in the third quarter of 2017.
So the A320neo has a production head start of around 21 months. Let is assume a production rate of 47 aircraft a month for both aircraft once the production of the A320ceo and the B737NG has ended. Boeing already has announced that rate and I am sure that Airbus will soon at least match that rate.
So Airbus should have around 987 more orders ( 21 months * 47 aircraft/month) than Boeing before deliveries of both re-engined aircraft begins. One could then argue that both aircraft are in equal demand.
So have a look at how the backlog delta between the two models evolved over time:
- In December 2011 the A320neo had 1106 more orders than the B737MAX.
- In December 2012 the A320neo had 670 more orders than the B737MAX.
- In December 2013 the A320neo had 762 more orders than the B737MAX.
- In December 2014 the A320neo had 958 more orders than the B737MAX.
Although it is noticeable that after Boeing had a good order year in 2012 - the first full year where the B737MAX was for sale - Airbus gained more orders for the A320neo again in 2013 and 2014.
And in 2015 it looks good again for Airbus. Avianca announced an MoU for 100 A320neo and we could see the MoU from Indigo for another 250 aircraft converted to a firm order soon (maybe this week at Aero India?) - and with the official launch of the A321neoLR one can expect more orders coming (ALC already has an MoU for 30 of them).
Let's have another look in early 2016 how the numbers look then...