Wireless Smartphone Strategies

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

July 24, 2014 02:49 woh

According to the recently published report from Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, global smartphone user base is expected to get close to 2.5 billion by the close of 2015. By region term, Asia Pacific is estimated to account for a lion's share, mainly boosted by a growing number of smartphone users in emerging markets including China, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam in addition to two established smartphone countries, South Korea and Japan. Smartphone user base for 88 countries in 6 continents are covered in this report.

The report is also forecasting the global smartphone user population penetration to figure out the ratio of smartphone ownership out of population and the global smartphone user household penetration to understand the propotion of active users per every single household for 88 countries through 2020.


July 17, 2014 18:14 nmawston

Mozille announced today that its Firefox OS is now available on 7 smartphone models at 5 major carriers in 15 countries worldwide. Latin America and Europe are the current regions of availability, with Asia next on the roadmap.

Clients of our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service can download our global Firefox smartphone sales, installed base and user base forecasts across 88 countries through 2018 at this weblink.


June 10, 2014 15:50 lsui

At the breakout session today -- in ZTE's annual analyst event in China -- the keywords are online channel and voice interaction.

Like many other Chinese vendors, ZTE has emphasized the critical role that online distribution channels play in branding equity enhancement. For instance, all of its three 4G models recently launched focus on online channels by working with big Chinese e-tailers, such as JD and T-Mall. ZTE targets that 20% of total smartphone sales this year will go via the online channel. Interestingly, offline and online is not completely exclusive. In contrast, as we have seen from Xiaomi, ZTE also tries to leverage online resources to do branding, and blur the boundary between the two to bring more online models to offline channels to generate volumes. For example, it plans to open up over hundreds of Nubia physical stores this year to enhance the penetration into offline channels.

ZTE showcased more voice-recognition usages today, such as voice-print unlocking, voice navigation, etc. ZTE claims the voice-recognition rate has improved to over 90% with its own technology by working with Nuance and other technical partners. Moreover, it will adopt more voice-interaction functions by integrating it with ZTE's own UI-MiFavor 3.0 later this year.  We like the idea very much, but it remains to be seen how users / consumers will embrace it or not -- the industry might need a more influential American player, such as Apple, to make voice-recognition adoption more widely available.

Something missing today from the session was the topic of LTE-Advanced -- it was not really covered. It is also surprising that ZTE confirmed they will adopt their own chipset mainly in modem products -- rather than their own smartphones -- in the short term, making us suspect it might still need time to improve and optimize the chipset products for cellphones.


June 9, 2014 13:47 lsui

Over 100 industry and financial analysts attended ZTE 10th Analyst Event today in Shanghai, China this week. Our analysts from the Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) and Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) services also joined the event.

Under the new management team and organization structure, ZTE outlined its handset business performance and new drivers to fulfill its growth target. The key word is smart 2.0, which ZTE defines as a user value driven platform allowing more interactions between users and providers. ZTE targets to be the enabler of smart 2.0 and position itself as “AFFORDABLE PREMIUM”. However, we think this alone is not good enough to differentiate it from other Chinese players, such as Huawei and Coolpad.

ZTE targets to sell 60 million units of smartphones worldwide in 2014, from over 40 million units one year ago. Moreover, to improve profitability, ZTE has been cutting SKUs dramatically since last year, which means the company has to deliver more hero models to fulfill the volume growth target. The three newly launched 4G models in China market, Grand SII, Red Bull v5, and Star 1, although they have achieved encouraging pre-order volumes, we think it is going to be challenging for ZTE (and others) to really stand out in such a crowded market. Also sub-branding fragmentation is another issue ZTE needs to address.

ZTE is focusing on voice recognition technology and believes it will be a key element behind Smart 2.0. We have tried the voice interface function with the newly launched Grand SII -- it worked well to unlock the phone. However, almost all smartphones support basic voice recognition technology at the moment, and it remains to be seen how ZTE will differentiate and dramatically improve the accuracy and user experience.

The new initiative on the channel side is to build up a C2C platform called “Weipinhui” (Westore). It is an innovative platform allowing anybody to sell ZTE phones via an APP called “westore”. The idea is to leverage the peer-to-peer influence to deepen and diversify e-commerce channels. It is now available on Android and iOS platform in China. No actual sales volume via this platform have yet been disclosed at the event.


May 11, 2014 22:57 nmawston

According to our WSS (Smartphones) research service, global dual-SIM smartphone sales will grow an impressive +61% YoY in 2014. Asia, China and India remain by far the largest markets for dual-SIM smartphones and the ones that hardware and component makers should prioritize. Lenovo and Samsung are among the major dual-SIM smartphone players worldwide. This extensive report, available for downloadb by clients here, contains forecasts for global dual-SIM smartphone sales in 6 major regions and 2 key countries -- China and India -- from 2007 to 2020. Qualitative analysis of top vendors and key technologies in this market are included, too.

 


April 29, 2014 02:50 woh

According to the latest research from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) research service, global smartphone shipments grew +33% annually to reach 285 million units in the first quarter of 2014. Leaders Samsung and Apple lost slight traction in the quarter, while Huawei and Lenovo each held five percent marketshare worldwide.

Global smartphone shipments grew 33 percent annually from 213.9 million units in Q1 2013 to 285.0 million in Q1 2014.Smartphone growth was mixed on a regional basis during the quarter, with healthy demand in Asia counterbalanced by sluggish volumes across North America due to changes in the operator subsidy mix.

SAMSUNG shipped 89.0 million smartphones worldwide and captured 31 percent marketshare in Q1 2014, dipping slightly from 32 percent a year earlier. This was Samsung’s first annual marketshare loss in the smartphone category since Q4 2009. Samsung continues to face tough competition from Apple at the higher-end of the smartphone market and from Chinese brands like Huawei at the lower-end.

APPLE grew a below-average 17 percent annually and shipped 43.7 million iPhones worldwide for 15 percent marketshare in Q1 2014, falling from the 17 percent level recorded during Q1 2013. Apple remains strong in the premium smartphone segment, but a lack of presence in the entry-level category continues to cost it lost volumes in fast-growing emerging markets such as Latin America.

The combined global smartphone marketshare of SAMSUNG and APPLE has slipped from 50 percent in Q1 2013 to 47 percent in Q1 2014. There is more competition than ever coming from the second-tier smartphone brands. HUAWEI remained steady with 5 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q1 2014, while LENOVO has increased its global presence from 4 percent to 5 percent share during the past year. Huawei is expanding swiftly in Europe, while Lenovo continues to grow aggressively outside China into new regions such as Russia. If the recent Lenovo takeover of MOTOROLA gets approved by various governments in the coming months, this will eventually create an even larger competitive force that Samsung and Apple must contend with in the second half of this year.

 

Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q1 2014  [1]

Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q1 '13

Q1 '14

Samsung

69.4

89.0

Apple

37.4

43.7

Huawei

10.0

13.4

Lenovo

8.4

13.3

Others

88.7

125.6

Total

213.9

285.0

 

 

 

Global Smartphone Vendor Marketshare  %

Q1 '13

Q1 '14

Samsung

32.4%

31.2%

Apple

17.5%

15.3%

Huawei

4.7%

4.7%

Lenovo

3.9%

4.7%

Others

41.5%

44.1%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

 

 

 

Total Growth Year-over-Year %

39.1%

33.2%

 

 

 

Source: Strategy Analytics

 

 

 

[1] Numbers are rounded.


April 24, 2014 16:23 lsui

LTE, branding and retail-point expansion are the three keywords for Huawei's global smartphone business in day 2 at its annual analyst event this week. Our smartphone team is attending.

LTE is the most important growth driver for Huawei's 80 million smartphone target in 2014. China, Western Europe, as well as other emerging markets, will play a determining role in its global LTE landscape. Our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service tracks global LTE phone volume and value (wholesale revenues and ASPs) on quarterly basis in this report.

Branding enhancement is an on-going project for Huawei over the past few years. Shfiting from product-centric to consumer-centric is their highlight for this year.

Open-channel retail-points have been playing an increasing role during Huawei's transition from a previous ODM / operator-centric business model to an OEM / own-branded business model. This year, Huawei will further solidify its global retail presence by setting up more branded shops, display zones and tables worldwide. The online channel for phones is burgeoning in China at the moment, however, we will not see a quick take-off of e-commerce in many emerging markets elsewhere very soon, so physical retail stores will maintain their critical role in both operator channels and open channels. Huawei's commitment on retail expansion is, in effect, a practical way to fulfill its global growth target this year. This published report, from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, forecasts smartphone sales by 7 channels for 6 regions and 3 major countries (China, India and Japan).

 


April 23, 2014 09:50 lsui

There are over three hundred analysts worldwide attending Huawei's Global Analyst Summit, held from April 23 to 25 in Shenzhen, China. Our analysts from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service also joined the event.

The key theme of day one is about the overall corporate performance review and strategy outlook. Clearly, operator business still makes up the lion’s share of overall revenue, but the enterprise business and consumer business have been growing faster in 2013. Geographically, China contributed to 35% of total revenue in 2013, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America also saw healthy growth. In contrast, North American performance remains lackluster and posted year-over-year decline last year. Company overall profitability improved.

For the smartphone business, in which Huawei ranked the third largest vendor worldwide in 2013, according to this report from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, Huawei reiterated its commitment to the smartphone business but indicated it will shift focus from volume growth towards sustainable growth and profitability. Compared with the two giants Apple and Samsung, the operating profit margin on Huawei's handset business was still quite slim in 2013. Our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service tracks the top 12 handset vendors' value and profitability figures on a quarterly basis in this report.

Looking forward, Huawei's consumer business needs to identify its own way to fulfill its growth target, rather than sometimes copycatting other players’ strategies (e.g. Xiaomi’s online distribution, or Samsung’s vertically integrated model, etc.). To avoid a price-war and further improve profitability, it seems, is the keyword for Huawei's global smartphone business in 2014.

 

 


January 29, 2014 22:36 nmawston

Google today confirmed officially that it has sold off its Motorola smartphone business to Lenovo of China for US$3 billion. Much less than the US$12 billion Google paid for Motorola in 2012.

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, the combined entity of Lenovo and Motorola captured 6% share of global smartphone shipments in 2013.

As a result of this new deal -- assuming it is approved by US, Chinese and other authorities -- Lenovo-Motorola becomes instantly the world's 3rd largest smartphone vendor by volume, behind Samsung (32%) and Apple (15%).

For Lenovo, it is a good move. The Chinese vendor gets access to the valuable US smartphone market and the fast-growing Latin America region. This complements its existing global PC business.

For Motorola, it gains access to an ambitious sugar daddy that has a strong presence in the huge China market.

For Google, it divests a loss-making hardware division.

Companies that will be worried by the Lenovo-Motorola deal include Samsung, Apple, LG, Sony, Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi, Coolpad, TCL-Alcatel and others.

Lenovo now has extra scale in smartphones and a seat near the top table. However, whether Lenovo can turnaround the long-struggling Motorola business, and what happens to the Motorola brand long-term, remain key questions that will need to be answered in the coming months.

 


January 29, 2014 13:35 nmawston

According to the latest research from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, global smartphone shipments grew 41 percent annually to reach a record 990 million units in 2013. Android captured 79 percent share of all smartphones shipped worldwide and extended its lead over Apple, Microsoft and other rivals.

Global smartphone shipments grew 34 percent annually from 217.0 million units in Q4 2012 to 290.2 million in Q4 2013. Global smartphone shipments for the full year were just shy of the 1 billion level, but they nonetheless reached a record 990.0 million units in 2013, increasing from 700.1 million in 2012. Global smartphone shipment growth decreased slightly from 43 percent in 2012 to 41% in 2013, due to high penetration in some major markets like the United States.

Android shipped a record 781.2 million smartphones worldwide for 79 percent marketshare in 2013. Android shipped four times more smartphones than Apple and Microsoft combined. There is little doubt that 2013 was the year of Android. However, Android’s annual growth rate slowed to 62 percent in 2013, its lowest level in the platform’s history. We expect Android’s growth to slow further in 2014 due to market saturation, and rivals like Microsoft or Firefox will be ready to pounce on any signs of a major slowdown for Android this year.

Apple iOS grew a sluggish 13 percent annually and shipped 153.4 million smartphones worldwide for 15 percent marketshare during 2013. Despite record volumes, 2013 is arguably a year that Apple will want to forget as growth slowed sharply and its new 5c model performed less strongly than expected.

Microsoft is now firmly established as the smartphone industry’s third major ecosystem, shipping 35.7 million units worldwide to capture 4 percent marketshare in 2013. However, the Windows Phone platform is still struggling to gain traction in the low-tier and premium-tier smartphone categories and they remain serious weaknesses that Microsoft will need to address in 2014.

More analysis of the software players in the quarter can be downloaded by clients in this published report.

Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone OS Shipments and Market Share in Q4 2013 [1]

Global Smartphone Operating System Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q4 '12

2012

Q4 '13

2013

Android

152.5

481.5

227.7

781.2

Apple iOS

47.8

135.8

51.0

153.4

Microsoft

5.9

18.8

9.4

35.7

Others

10.8

64.0

2.2

19.8

Total

217.0

700.1

290.2

990.0

 

 

 

 

 

Global Smartphone Operating System Marketshare  %

Q4 '12

2012

Q4 '13

2013

Android

70.3%

68.8%

78.4%

78.9%

Apple iOS

22.0%

19.4%

17.6%

15.5%

Microsoft

2.7%

2.7%

3.2%

3.6%

Others

5.0%

9.1%

0.7%

2.0%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

 

 

 

 

 

Total Growth Year-over-Year %

38.2%

42.7%

33.7%

41.4%

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Strategy Analytics

 

 

 

 

 


[1] Numbers are rounded.