Wireless Device Strategies

First to market each quarter with the most accurate and detailed data on handset strategies. The industry’s most timely, consistent and accurate tracking of device vendor KPI metrics, as well as handset market sales and shipment forecasts.

May 28, 2014 11:35 nmawston

According to the latest research from our WDS (Devices) service, mobile phone sales will reach 430 million units and generate revenues of US$87 billion in China during 2014. In contrast, mobile phone sales will stabilize at 163 million units and deliver revenues of just US$60 billion in the United States this year. China will overtake the United States for the first time ever to become the world’s largest mobile phone market by value.

We forecast mobile phone sales to grow 15 percent annually to reach a record 430 million units in China during 2014. Mobile phone trade revenues will surge 53 percent annually to reach a record US$87 billion this year. In contrast, mobile phone sales in the United States will grow zero percent annually, while trade revenues will increase only 4 percent to US$60 billion in 2014. China will finally overtake the United States for the first time this year to become the world’s largest mobile phone market by value.

China’s impressive mobile growth is being driven by the country’s rapid shift to 3G and 4G smartphones. Major brands, such as Samsung, Huawei and Lenovo, are aggressively expanding their distribution channels and product ranges across the region to meet extremely strong demand from Chinese consumers for more advanced mobile phones.

The United States is maturing and has now lost its crown to China as the world’s largest mobile phone market by revenue. However, it is important to remember the US remains by far the mobile industry’s most valuable country by profit. High average selling prices for mobile phones and huge operator subsidies from Sprint and others continue to make the US a very profitable market for major device brands such as Apple, Samsung and Alcatel.


Exhibit 1: Mobile Phone Sales and Trade Revenues by Country in 2014  [1]

Mobile Phone Sales (Millions of Units)






United States






Mobile Phone Trade Revenues (US$, Billions)






United States






Source: Strategy Analytics




[1]  Numbers are rounded. The term "mobile phone" refers to all smartphones plus feature phones combined. Trade revenues are defined as wholesale revenues. The 2014 data are forecast estimates.

May 27, 2014 15:13 nmawston

Our WDS (Devices) research service forecasts mobile phone revenues to grow +13% worldwide during 2014. At the same time, the four BRIC countries combined -- Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- will all grow at rates well above the global average. Led by China, BRIC countries will generate 36% of all global cellphone revenues in 2014. Among the four countries in 2014, China will experience the highest revenue & ASP growth rate, propelled by the decrease in ultra-low tier market and the increase in other higher price range segments.

Our extensive report -- which can be downloaded by clients here -- forecasts BRIC country handset sales volume, wholesale (trade) revenues, and wholesale ASPs across five price-tiers from 2009 to 2020. Additional analysis of the premium, high, mid, entry and ultra-low price-bands is included. The report is a valuable tool for device vendors, operators, component manufacturers, software developers, financial analysts, car makers and other stakeholders who want to measure each country's mobile phone market by value and benchmark their pricing strategies.

September 23, 2013 14:05 nmawston

Global LTE handset wholesale revenues continued to climb several hundred percent in Q2 2013. The 4G segment is the mobile industry's fastest-growing category by far. Samsung was the world’s largest 4G vendor by revenue, overtaking Apple. This published report, available to clients of our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, tracks global LTE handset wholesale prices and ASPs by vendor by quarter from Q3 2012 to Q2 2013.

September 6, 2012 17:52 nmawston

According to new research from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, wholesale (trade) prices of mobile phones will rise +10% in Brazil during 2013. Among the "big four" emerging markets -- Brazil, Russia, India, China (BRIC) -- Brazil will experience the fastest growth in average selling prices next year. Brazil's pricing will grow two times quicker than China's. What is driving the uplift? Three main reasons: 3G, subsidies, and GDP. The tide of 3G phones being shipped is rising at a healthy clip. Subsidies for postpaid users remain present at some major carriers. And Brazil's citizens are getting wealthier (despite a recent slowdown), meaning they can afford pricier models. More analysis and forecasts of revenues, prices, and price-bands for Brazil through 2017 can be viewed by clients here.

December 16, 2011 15:18 Alex Spektor

Analysts from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service attended the recent 2011 Broadcom Analyst Day held in New York City, where the semiconductor firm highlighted its recent successes in the wireless chipset space and outlined a strategy for further growth.

Broadcom's major revenue growth driver so far has been the proliferation of its "combo chip" wireless connectivity solution, providing enabling technologies like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC. The solution, Broadcom claims, gives them a typical ASP of US $6-8, which provides a healthy contribution thanks to Broadcom's strong marketshare. Moving forward, Broadcom is seeking revenue uplift from going after the combination baseband/applications processor/GPU market, which together with the wireless combo chip would yield to Broadcom a per-handset ASP of US$12-30. Indeed, Broadcom are already well on their way, and according to our Handset Component Technologies team, Broadcom broke into top-five smartphone AP chip supplier rankings during Q3 2011.

The first phase of Broadcom's long-term plan targets the low-end smartphone market, where Broadcom claims that its solution delivers better performance, dollar for dollar. In particular, Broadcom is targeting cost-sensitive Indian and Chinese microvendors, which are small individually but, according to our Wireless Device Strategies service, together represented about 1 in 10 handsets shipped worldwide during Q3 2011. Going after the low-end smartphone segment, we believe, is a wise decision. Indeed, according to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, more than half of all smartphones will be priced below US$200 wholesale globally in just a few years.

The second phase of Broadcom's long-term plan will be to target the emerging LTE market. Indeed, we expect well over 100 million LTE phones to be sold during the next two years. Coupled with the technology's significantly above-average ASPs, makes it an attractive market for Broadcom to target.

Ultimately, the success of Broadcom's long-term strategy depends on their ability to gain design wins with microvendors and megavendors alike. The recent success of the Broadcom-powered Samsung Galaxy Y is an early indicator that initial momentum is in the right direction.

Alex Spektor
Wireless Device Strategies

December 14, 2011 11:28 nmawston

Strategy Analytics forecasts worldwide HTML5 phone sales will surge from 336 million units in 2011 to 1 billion units in 2013. HTML5 has quickly become a hyper-growth technology that will help smartphones, feature phones, tablets, notebooks, desktop PCs, televisions and vehicles to converge through cloud services.

We forecast worldwide HTML5 phone sales to hit 1 billion units per year in 2013. Growth for HTML5 phones is being driven by robust demand from multiple hardware vendors and software developers in North America, Europe and Asia who want to develop rich media services across multiple platforms, including companies like Adobe, Apple, Google and Microsoft. We define an HTML5 phone as a mobile handset with partial or full support for HTML5 technology in the browser, such as the Apple iPhone 4S.

We believe HTML5 will help smartphones, feature phones, tablets, notebooks, desktop PCs, televisions and vehicles to converge in the future. HTML5 will be a pivotal technology in the growth of a multi-screen, 4G LTE cloud that is emerging for mobile operators, device makers, car manufacturers, component vendors and Web app developers. With its potential to transcend some of the barriers faced by native apps, such as cross-platform usability, HTML5 is a market that no mobile stakeholder can afford to ignore.

However, despite surging growth of HTML5 phone sales, we caution that HTML5 is still a relatively immature technology. HTML5 currently has limited APIs and feature-sets to include compared with native apps on platforms such as Android or Apple iOS. It will require several years of further development and standards-setting before HTML5 can fully mature to reach its potential as a unified, multi-platform content-enabler.

The full report, Global HTML5 Handset Sales Forecast, is published by our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, details of which can be found at this link: http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=reportabstractviewer&a0=6901.

November 14, 2011 12:04 Alex Spektor

In a recent report from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, we published that superphones will be the world's fastest growing sub-category of wireless handsets this year. Global superphone sales will grow 200 percent in 2011, driven by popular models such as the Samsung Galaxy S2 and HTC Sensation, increasing fifteen times faster than the overall handset market's growth rate of 13 percent.

Superphones are a relatively new sub-category of wireless handsets that first appeared on the global market in 2009, initially leveraging the now-obsolete Microsoft Windows Mobile platform. Superphones today integrate high-level operating systems like Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone with supersized displays of at least 4 inches and superfast processors of at least 1GHz.

Superphones are driving super growth in the handset market. Consumers and operators like the richer experience of larger screens and faster processing speeds that can be delivered by superphones, for applications like Web browsing, gaming, and watching HD video. Samsung is currently the world's leading superphone vendor due to the success of its Android-powered Galaxy S2 model, and Samsung has been aggressively leveraging this leadership to attack rivals with much weaker superphone portfolios such as Nokia, Blackberry and even Apple.

Alex Spektor
Wireless Device Strategies

February 17, 2011 01:30 Neil Shah


In a time when touchphones are becoming indistinguishable to the untrained eye, smartphone vendors have to get creative broaden their product portfolios. A small wave of down-sized smartphones has hit the market in the past year. Devices like HTC's HD mini and Sony Ericsson's duo of Xperia X10 Mini and Xperia X10 Mini Pro are now being followed by Samsung Galaxy Series Mini and a rumored iPhone Mini.


iPhone Mini (or Nano?) is speculated to be a cloud-centric mid-tier (wholesale ASP in the range of US$100-190) iOS-based smartphone, with a smaller screen size compared to the iPhone 4. Apple's potential product line extension toward the iPhone Nano makes sense as the third-ranked smartphone vendor globally (in terms of volumes for the full year 2010) looks to leverage its strong brand value to increase volumes, thus further expanding its growing iOS user base. And Apple?s products (iPods, iMacs, and MacBooks) all come in a range of sizes and prices.

The iPhone Nano is rumored to be a smartphone that will significantly leverage Apple?s cloud-based 'Mobile Me' online storage services platform. The capabilities of iPhone Nano in a ?thin-client?-like design could extend beyond personal content (mail, music and multimedia) storage to optimized web browsing, enhanced real-time chatting and access to web-based applications, taking Apple?s application and services ecosystem to the next level. At the same time, with an iPhone Nano, Apple could compromise on some of the hardware specs and salvage the gross margins from dipping too much while keeping pricing competitive.

The inclusion of iPhone Mini in Apple?s smartphone portfolio could have following implications:

  • iPhone Nano could help Apple gain significant shelf share with operators using a differentiated offering relative to the sea of mid-tier Android smartphones.
  • For operators, this also means selling a popular branded smartphone with lower subsidies (without a big hole in the pocket).
  • The development could not only be an attractive proposition for Apple for generating revenue from a cloud-oriented model but also for the carriers in achieving higher ARPU.
  • A more affordable iPhone could boost overall handset volumes for Apple as it will be able to target the huge base of feature phone users who are eager to upgrade to smartphone with a much easier opportunity to get their hands on a desired Apple product.
  • This also presents a good opportunity for Apple to generate volumes in the high-volume but price-conscious emerging markets.

However, moving downstream into the hundreds of millions of units markets could create number of challenges in manufacturing, logistics, sales and marketing expenditure and customer support. The question is, does Apple have the scalable infrastructure; retail and service reach (like that of Nokia or Samsung) to enter and serve this potentially huge addressable market? Additionally, Apple would also like to tread carefully, as we have already seen promising cloud-centric handsets in form of Microsoft Kin One and Two doomed by poor marketing messages and pricing plans.

In summary, the new rumored Apple offering broadly intersects the lucrative mid-tier smartphone and potential cloud phone categories, which present ample opportunities for growth but also brings along new set of challenges that no handset vendor can ignore.