Wireless Smartphone Strategies

The industry’s most comprehensive set of critical market statistics and qualitative analysis, tracking and reporting on smartphones.

April 2, 2014 10:25 sbicheno

Canadian smartphone specialist BlackBerry announced another major year-on-year fall in global units shipments recently, which marks the 11th quarter in a row it has seen an annual decline.

Our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service notes that it also reported a significantly larger figure for sales through to the end-user, with the difference accounted for by inventory recognized in previous quarters, and the majority of which were running the older BlackBerry 7 OS, which was replaced as the main BlackBerry platform by BB10 a year ago.

While BlackBerry’s shipment decline began in 2011, it seemed to have stabilised in the latter half of 2012. In the light of the continued clearing of BB7 inventory it now appears that the Q3 and Q4 2012 BlackBerry shipments numbers were inflated by a rush to pump BB7 units into the channel - presumably at a discount - in order to clear the decks for the big BB10 launch. One possible negative side-effect of this may have been to offer a cheap, familiar alternative to consumers who might otherwise have given the new BB10 smartphones a try.

On that note, BlackBerry seems to also be streamlining the channel itself, with the recent announcement that it will not renew the licence for T-Mobile US to sell BlackBerry devices after it expires towards the end of April. This decision seems to have been influenced by a February T-Mobile email marketing campaign, encouraging its customers to switch from BlackBerry smartphones to iPhones. BlackBerry CEO John Chen made his displeasure known at the time through a blog, and the damage done appears to have been permanent.

January 9, 2014 19:25 khyers

A newly published report in our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service examines BlackBerry's most recent quarterly performance. BlackBerry continued to absorb body-blows in calendar Q4 2013, even as it took concrete steps to put the company back on a path towards recovery. From a huge loss for the handset business due to continued poor sales of its BlackBerry 10 smartphones to an inability to find a buyer who would take the company private, and finally, the replacement of senior executives including its CEO, the fourth quarter of the year capped what has by any measure been an awful year for the Canadian smartphone company. Despite the grim drumbeat of bad news, strategic changes announced by new CEO John Chen, including a partnership with contract manufacturer Foxconn, indicate that the company is making the kinds of difficult decisions that can stem the bleeding and lead the company to a second act as a maker of devices and services tailored to its core base of consumer and enterprise customers.  This published report available to download by clients, examines BlackBerry's current status and future prospects.

October 28, 2013 18:06 nmawston

According to the latest research from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, global smartphone shipments grew 45 percent annually to reach a record 251 million units in the third quarter of 2013. Samsung captured a record 35 percent share of all smartphone volumes worldwide, while Huawei jumped into third place in the rankings.

Global smartphone shipments grew 45 percent annually from 172.8 million units in Q3 2012 to 251.4 million in Q3 2013. This was the first time ever that smartphone shipments exceeded a quarter-billion units in a single quarter. Smartphones accounted for 6 in 10 of all mobile phones shipped worldwide. The smartphone industry’s robust growth is being driven by strong demand for LTE models in developed regions like the US and 3G devices in emerging markets such as China.

Samsung grew 55 percent annually and shipped a record 88.4 million smartphones worldwide, capturing a record 35 percent marketshare in Q3 2013. Samsung shipped over two times more smartphones than Apple during the quarter. While shipments of the flagship Galaxy S4 model softened, solid demand for the new Note 3 phablet and for mass-market devices like the Galaxy Y helped to lift Samsung’s volumes.

Apple shipped 33.8 million iPhones worldwide in Q3 2013, up from 26.9 million a year earlier. Apple grew just 26 percent annually during Q3 2013, which is around half the overall smartphone industry average of 45 percent. Apple’s global smartphone marketshare has dipped noticeably from 16 percent to 13 percent during the past year. Nonetheless, we expect Apple to rebound sharply and regain share in the upcoming fourth quarter of 2013 due to high demand for its new iPhone 5s model.

Huawei was a star performer as global shipments grew 67 percent annually to 12.7 million units in Q3 2013. Huawei captured 5 percent marketshare and became the world’s third largest smartphone vendor. The popular P6 and G610 models have been among the main drivers of Huawei’s success. Huawei remains very strong at home in China, but its position is less robust in other major markets like the US and Europe. Huawei will need to expand aggressively in the American and European markets if it wants to seriously challenge the big two of Samsung and Apple next year.

Other findings from our research include:

LG shipped 12.0 million smartphones worldwide for 5 percent marketshare in Q3 2013. LG grew 71 percent annually, making it the fastest-growing vendor among the top five brands. LG has been expanding rapidly in Europe, but China and India remain weak spots;

Lenovo shipped 10.8 million smartphones worldwide for 4 percent marketshare and fifth position in Q3 2013. Lenovo is popular among mass-market consumers in China and it is expanding internationally. Two of the world’s top five smartphone vendors came from China -- Lenovo and Huawei.

 Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q3 2013  [1]

Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q3 '12

Q3 '13

























Global Smartphone Vendor Marketshare  %

Q3 '12

Q3 '13

























Total Growth Year-over-Year %




The full report, Huawei Reaches Third Place as Global Smartphone Shipments Reach Quarter-Billion Units in Q3 2013, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, details of which can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/bps9qhr.

Please contact Neil Mawston, at nmawston@strategyanalytics.com, for further analysis, data or information.

[1]  Numbers are rounded.

October 23, 2013 00:35 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, BlackBerry’s struggles worsened in calendar Q3 2013 as the iconic smartphone maker was forced to take a nearly US$1 billion charge on unsold inventory in the quarter. BlackBerry smartphone shipments fell to the lowest level in 26 quarters, since Q1 2007. BlackBerry management, recognizing that efforts to restore the company to growth will require more time, are seeking to find a lifeline by taking the company private, but as its market prospects worsen it is becoming ever more likely that BlackBerry faces the possibility that it could be broken up with several companies buying its constituent parts. Which potential buyers are in the frame? This published report, available to clients, lists the possible buyers and their reasons for takeovers.

July 17, 2013 20:20 khyers

BlackBerry reported dismal financial results for Q2 2013 as its global smartphone shipments fell -12% annually. The growth of the new BB10 platform is not yet strong enough to offset the slowdown in BB7 volumes. However, an increased BB10 mix pushed the vendor’s average selling price (ASP) to its highest level since 2009. Moving forward, Blackberry must focus heavily on its upgraded second-generation BB10 models for regrowth later this year.

Strategy Analytics recently published a result which examines BlackBerry's smartphone business and results for Q2 2013. This report, published in our Wireless Smartphone Strategies service, and available to our clients, provides key performance indicators and our in-depth analysis and perspective on BlackBerry's Q2 2013 smartphone results and strategies.

July 10, 2013 02:41 woh

NFC smartphones have reached a tipping point in 2013 and volumes will surge an impressive 156% this year due to the stabilized NFC ecosystem generation efforts made by device makers, mobile carriers, chipset companies and relevant parties from banking/credit card/security. Most new LTE smartphones will launch with NFC in the future, led by key players such as Samsung, LG, Blackberry, Sony, Android, GSMA, NXP, Broadcom, G&D and Visa.

This report published by our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, available to our clients, contains forecasts for global NFC smartphone sales in 6 major regions, including North America, Western Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & Latin America, Central & Eastern Europe and Africa Middle East, from 2004 to 2017. The report also forecasts worldwide NFC smartphone sales by installed base, as well as analysis of the technology's drivers and adoption challenges.

June 28, 2013 21:04 nmawston

While Blackberry’s share price on Wall Street crashed today, we think their financial results for calendar Q2 2013 were broadly in-line with expectations. Lackluster smartphone volumes, no profit and subscriber losses shouldn't really be a major surprise to anyone. First-generation smartphones, like BB10, rarely take off. The first iPhone, first Android, first Lumia and first Galaxy all disappointed at launch. Operators, developers and consumers take time to become familiar with brand-new platforms.

We encourage Blackberry to refocus aggressively on its second-generation models, due in the second half of 2013 and early 2014. Those multiple devices, such as the rumored A10 phablet, will be the real litmus test of Blackberry's long-term future.

More analysis of Blackberry can be viewed by clients of our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service at this link.

May 30, 2013 15:39 khyers

According to our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, global mobile phone industry revenues grew +11% annually in Q1 2013. Profits increased annually due to a greater proportion of 3G and 4G models in the mix. Samsung and Apple dominate the industry and they are tightening their grip on value share, squeezing out almost all other rivals. Our new report provides quarterly global mobile phone ASPs, revenues and profit metrics for multiple major mobile phone OEMs from 2007 through 1Q 2013. Revenue share and profit share are also supplied. The published report can be downloaded by clients here.

February 23, 2013 21:53 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, global smartphone shipments grew +38% annually in Q4 2012, and +43% in FY 2012. Growth in the quarter was healthy but slowed a little as postpaid penetration matures. Samsung and Apple continue to dominate volumes due to their extensive retail presence. Huawei became the world's third largest smartphone player for the first time ever, highlighting the rise of Chinese brands. This published report -- available to download by clients --contains global smartphone shipments by the top 20 vendors by region by quarter from 2007 to 2012. Global smartphone shipments by vendor by operating system by quarter are also included in a pivot-table. The report is valuable for mobile stakeholders who want to size the huge market for smartphones and operating system marketshare by hardware vendor.

February 23, 2013 21:44 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, global smartphone shipments reached a record level of 700 million units in full-year 2012. While Android was once more the dominant global OS by volume, Apple reclaimed some marketshare thanks to the first full quarter of availability for the new iPhone 5. This trend was especially apparent in North America, where Android appears to have peaked, but globally Android still accounts for a significant majority of all smartphones shipped. BlackBerry and Symbian continued to see their global presence shrink, and while Microsoft experienced a boost from the launch of Windows Phone 8 in Q4, the gain was smaller than expected.

This published report, available to download by clients, contains global smartphone shipments by operating system by region by quarter from 2009 to 2012. The report is valuable for mobile stakeholders who want to size the huge market for smartphones and operating system marketshare.