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.

October 30, 2014 02:35 woh

According to the latest report from our WDS (Devices) research service, global MOBILE PHONE shipments grew 8 percent annually to reach 460 million units in the third quarter of 2014. LG was the star performer, capturing 5 percent marketshare and reaching its highest level in the overall mobile phone market for three years.


Global mobile phone shipments grew 8 percent annually from 427.2 million units in Q3 2013 to 459.5 million in Q3 2014. Smartphones accounted for 7 in 10 of total mobile phone shipments during the quarter. The 8 percent growth rate of the overall mobile phone market is being driven by healthy demand for 3G and 4G models across Asia, Africa and Latin America.


Samsung dipped 15 percent annually and shipped 101.7 million mobile phones worldwide, capturing 22 percent marketshare in Q3 2014. Samsung’s growth rate has slowed recently due to tougher competition from Chinese vendors, but Samsung maintains a good product portfolio and it is still shipping more mobile phones worldwide than Apple and Nokia combined. Nokia shipped 52.2 million mobile phones worldwide for 11 percent share in Q3 2014. Nokia, now owned by Microsoft, continues to face intense rivalry from Apple and dozens of Android vendors across all price-bands.


Apple shipped 39.3 million iPhones worldwide in Q3 2014, up from 33.8 million a year earlier. We note Apple’s annual growth rate has almost halved from 26 percent in Q3 2013 to 16 percent in Q3 2014. Apple is finding it harder to achieve growth this year, despite a successful recent launch of the new iPhone 6 portfolio. LG had a strong quarter, capturing 5 percent share of the global mobile phone market, reaching its highest level since the third quarter of 2011. LG is performing well in the US and Europe, but we caution that China and India remain major weak-spots that the vendor still needs to address.


Other findings from the research include:

·         Xiaomi shipped 18.0 million mobile phones worldwide for a record 4 percent marketshare to become the world’s fifth largest vendor for the first time ever in Q3 2014. The vast majority of Xiaomi’s global mobile phone shipments take place in China, where it has a famous brand and an extensive retail presence;

·         A long tail of second-tier brands continues to build momentum beyond the top five mobile phone brands. Key emerging challengers in mobile phones worldwide at the moment include TCL-Alcatel, Oppo, Vivo, Lenovo and others. They are important players to monitor.


Exhibit 1: Global MOBILE PHONE Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q3 2014  [1]

Global Mobile Phone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q3 '13

Q3 '14




Nokia (Microsoft)



















Global Mobile Phone Vendor Marketshare (%)

Q3 '13

Q3 '14




Nokia (Microsoft)





















Total Growth: Year-over-Year (%)




Source: Strategy Analytics





[1]  Numbers are rounded. The term “Mobile Phone” is defined as smartphones plus feature phones combined.

October 22, 2014 11:31 nmawston

Unconfirmed rumors are arising yet again in the mobile industry that Lenovo of China will soon try to purchase part or all of Blackberry in Canada. Such rumors have been around for 2+ years, of course -- but the sound of the drumbeat has recently gotten louder again.

Why would Lenovo be interested in Blackberry? Our WDS (Devices) service indicates there are at least three main reasons. They are:

1. Deeper distribution among global carriers and companies;
2. Good OS software for phones and cars (e.g. BB10);
3. Mature mobile security software.

Should Lenovo try to takeover Blackberry? In our view, it would be a risky move. First, the Canadian government may forbid a partial or full merger, due to security or economic reasons. Second, Lenovo today is already struggling to close the deal on its loss-making Motorola takeover. And third, Blackberry is showing signs of financial stabilization right now -- for the first time in years -- Blackberry executives may no longer want to rollover and just "give up".

October 10, 2014 13:50 nmawston

According to a new report from our WDS (Devices) research service, worldwide handset manufacturing and assembly continue to polarize around a handful of production locations, such as China, Vietnam and Brazil. Our extensive report -- published to clients here -- tracks cellular handset manufacturing (production) by 6 regions and 10 countries from 2001 to 2013. The report is a valuable tool for handset vendors, component makers, IPR owners, software developers, operators and other stakeholders to monitor global cellphone production by country.

October 2, 2014 18:55 nmawston

According to new research from our WDS (Devices) service, Blackberry is planning to launch a fresh wave of unconventional cellphone designs in 2015. The recent Passport model -- with its square formfactor and touch-keyboard -- is "step 1" in Blackberry's multi-step roadmap for visually differentiated 4G phone models next year. Blackberry knows it MUST "do something different" to stand out on retailer store shelves -- and making eyecatching hardware is one way of doing that. However, there is a very fine line between "quirky good" and "quirky bad" for cellphone design. At the moment, Blackberry Passport -- which we forecast will ship 1 million units worldwide in 2014 -- hovers right in the middle between those two boundaries of good and not-so-good. Blackberry still has not yet wowed us -- but the company is thinking along the right lines.

More analysis of Blackberry Passport and the vendor's device strategy for 2015 can be viewed by clients here.

April 7, 2014 12:32 khyers

With a new strategy, BlackBerry’s challenge will be to sell software and services to enterprises while telling them they don’t necessarily have to buy BlackBerry smartphones

As BlackBerry smartphone sales remain weak, the company is embracing a strategy that will see it increasing its focus on mobile data management software and services through sales of its BlackBerry Enterprise Server. In the process, it will go head-to-head against other leading firms in the space, including SAP, IBM, Oracle, Good Technologies, and MobileIron. BlackBerry’s Enterprise Server software manages not just data to its own smartphones, but across Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices.

BlackBerry’s challenge will be to sell Enterprise Server without alienating customers who may not wish to buy its smartphones. For BlackBerry this will necessitate a change in how it sells its products and could ultimately set up a conflict between its various businesses, as its hardware division looks to leverage software and services sales to grow new business. The conflict could eventually force BlackBerry to choose which area is the future of it business, and depending on the success of its strategy, could ultimately see BlackBerry downplaying handset sales in order to drive its software and services business.

This published report discusses BlackBerry’s performance in Q1 2014 and its shifting strategy. The report – available to clients – provides Strategy Analytics’ analysis of BlackBerry’s most recent 1Q 2014 calendar performance.

February 25, 2014 18:09 sbicheno

Our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service is attending the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona, Spain.

This is a summary of some of our main findings from Day 2 (Tuesday):

Our attention was mostly caught be lower-priced smartphones on day 2 of MWC 2014. In addition to the low and mid price-tier smartphone announcements from Mozilla, Huawei and Nokia previously, several other major handset vendors played their mass-market hands today.

LG complemented the launch of the G Pro 2 phablet with the F70 and F90 Android smartphones that are designed to bring LTE to lower price bands. Lenovo went one better with the launch of three smartphones: the S660, S850 and S860, which will address a range of price-points.

Alcatel, meanwhile, maintained its rapid rate of handset launches, with the Alcatel Onetouch Pop Fit standing out as it has a tiny 2.8-inch screen and is aimed at the currently niche fitness smartphone market.

And BlackBerry has been quick to learn the lessons from the launch of the Z10 and Q10 by announcing the first fruits of its partnership with Foxconn. The Z3 is an all-touch smartphone designed specifically for the BlackBerry stronghold of Indonesia, while the Q20 will be a combination of the traditional QWERTY handset design with the new BB10 OS in a lower-priced package.

February 11, 2014 01:29 woh

Strategy Analytics' analysts from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) research service will be pounding the floor at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014 in Barcelona, Spain, from Sunday 23rd to Thursday 27th February, 2014. It is the world's most important trade show for the mobile industry.

We will be blogging live from the show every day.

Here are five major trends that we recommend clients / journalists / techies look out for at this year's event:

1. Wearables will, of course, be a major buzzword. Smartwatches, smartglasses and fitness / health bands will be the primary products on display. There will be also be a long tail of emerging wearable devices for niche markets, from smartsocks to smartmedics. We recommend you visit major companies like Samsung, LG, Huawei and Broadcom.

2. More curved smartphones will be on show. We saw dozens of curved TVs from Asian brands at CES 2014, and two curved smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy Round and LG G Flex. Curved smartphones will gain market traction faster than curved TVs. Curved smartphones are the first step to a future of rollable touchscreens. Innovative companies to visit will be Samsung and LG. Will the new, rumored Samsung Galaxy S5 have a curved display?

3. Global expansion of the rising Chinese smartphone vendors. After dominating at home in China, many Chinese brands are now turning their eyes overseas, such as the valuable United States market. Major vendors you should visit include Huawei, ZTE, TCL-Alcatel and Lenovo-Motorola. Keep an eye out, too, for any Indian players, like Micromax.

4. The rise of affordable 4G handsets. The majority of LTE handsets available until last year have been in the premium price-range. However, the China LTE market is about to soar in 2014, due to China Mobile. Low prices will be the key to unlock rapid growth. Companies to visit include Samsung, Qualcomm and MediaTek.

5. Faster LTE-A CA (Carrier Aggregation) and TD-LTE will excite the tech geeks among us. We recommend you experience the multiple LTE-A devices and TD-LTE devices on show from numerous handset vendors, such as Samsung or Huawei. The era of "mobile fiber" is here.

Please check back to see our daily blogs and further updates on MWC 2014 every day during the show. We look forward to seeing you soon in beautiful Barcelona!



June 5, 2013 04:28 woh

This week, unconfirmed rumors resurfaced that Lenovo of China may be interested in merging its smartphone division with NEC Casio of Japan in H2 2013. Lenovo has been running a separate venture with NEC in the PC business since 2011.

According to our Country Share Tracker (CST) service, NEC Casio performed well in the Japanese mobile phone market during the early-2000s, but it has drifted into the mid-table rankings this year in both local handset and smartphone market share due to mixed products, slow rollouts and suboptimal distribution.

By contrast, Lenovo is putting in the utmost efforts trying to increase its market presence in smartphones, based partly on its market penetration of the PC industry, which resulted in Lenovo taking 6th place in our global smartphone rankings during Q1 2013. Lenovo is doing particularly well in its home smartphone market of China, where it is an established top-5 player.

The creation of a joint venture with NEC Casio could give Lenovo a greater foothold in the Japanese smartphone market. Lenovo will be targeting Japan because it will be the world's 4th biggest country by volume in 2014. If Lenovo could gain better traction in Japan through a JV with NEC Casio, it would pose a competitive threat to Fujitsu, Sharp, Sony, Kyocera, Apple, Samsung and others. Combining Lenovo's hunger for growth with NEC's high-end product experience could prove a solid combination.

However, it remains to be seen whether Japanese consumers or operators would warm to such an ambitious Chinese entrant -- especially given ongoing political tensions between the two countries. For these reasons, we believe a Lenovo-NEC-Casio merger, full or partial, if it happened, would be achievable, but any JV would probably struggle to move beyond niche status at home in Japan.

April 26, 2013 03:00 woh

Boston, MA - April 25, 2013 – According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global mobile phone shipments dipped minus 1 percent annually to reach 373 million units in Q1 2013. Samsung was the star performer, capturing a record 29 percent share of all mobile phones shipped worldwide.

Neil Shah, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said, “Ongoing macroeconomic challenges in Asia, Europe and North America, relatively tighter operator upgrade policies for 3G phones, and slowing volumes of 2G feature phones were among the key reasons why global mobile phone shipments dipped minus 1 percent annually to reach 372.7 million units in Q1 2013. Fuelled by robust demand for its popular Galaxy portfolio, Samsung was the star performer, shipping 106.6 million mobile phones worldwide and capturing a record 29 percent marketshare to solidify its first-place lead.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Nokia’s global mobile phone shipments fell 25 percent from 82.7 million units in Q1 2012 to 61.9 million in Q1 2013. Weak Symbian smartphone volumes and lackluster feature phone demand caused Nokia’s shrinkage. Nonetheless, Nokia remains the world’s second largest mobile phone vendor by volume, and if it can expand aggressively its fast-growing Lumia and Asha ranges this year, then there is still potential for Nokia’s position to stabilize or recover.”

Woody Oh, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, added, “Apple grew just 7 percent annually and shipped 37.4 million iPhones worldwide in Q1 2013. Apple’s global mobile phone marketshare is approaching a peak. Apple will need to launch new models, or partner with additional major carriers like China Mobile, if it wants to expand significantly beyond its current ceiling of 10 percent global volume share.”

Other findings from the research include:

  • LG held fourth position with 4 percent share of the global mobile phone market. LG has been ramping up its LTE 4G shipments, with popular models from the Optimus range, and this helped LG to grow at an above-average rate of 18 percent annually in the quarter;
  • ZTE delivered 4 percent share of the global mobile phone market in Q1 2013, its lowest level for almost three years. ZTE is experiencing heightened competition in core markets like China and Western Europe from rivals such as Coolpad and Samsung.  

Exhibit 1: Global Mobile Phone Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q1 2013  [1]

Global Mobile Phone Shipments (Millions of Units) 

Q1 '12 

Q1 '13 

























Global Mobile Phone Vendor Market Share % 

Q1 '12 

Q1 '13 

























Total Growth Year-over-Year % 



The full report, Global Handset Shipments Reach 373 Million Units in Q1 2013, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, details of which can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/cr7fhmb.  

About Strategy Analytics:

Strategy Analytics is a global, independent research and consulting firm. The company is headquartered in Boston, USA, with offices in the UK, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, India and China. Visit www.strategyanalytics.com for more information. 


Americas Contact:

Neil Shah / +1 617 614 0727 / NShah@strategyanalytics.com             

Europe Contact

Neil Mawston / +44 1908 423 628 / NMawston@strategyanalytics.com  

Asia Contact:

Woody Oh / +44 1908 423 665 / WOh@strategyanalytics.com

[1]  Numbers are rounded. Total in the data-table does not include grey phone shipments.

March 13, 2013 07:04 woh

Strategy Analytics' global devices team was on the show floor at MWC 2013, the arguably most influential trade show in the mobile industry, for five days, meeting dozens of firms and executives. What new analysis did we make as a result of our meetings? What are the hot topics and disruptive products that MWC visitors were asking about? What will be major trends for smartphones and operating systems in the second half of 2013? We conducted a webinar on Mar 6 to present a lot of interesting and noticeable topics that we gathered during MWC 2013. All Strategy Analytics' clients are invited to see the replay here.