Wireless Smartphone Strategies

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

March 20, 2015 10:00 PLin

Breaking news today -- March 20th, 2015 -- that Peter Chou, the CEO of HTC in Taiwan, has stepped down from his position. He is replaced immediately by Cher Wang, co-founder and chairwoman of the smartphone maker. Peter Chou will remain at HTC, in a face-saving move as the head of its Future Development Lab, to lead new product innovation.

This executive transition today is, of course, NOT a surprise. It really should have happened two years ago when HTC's global handset marketshare had already halved and the downward spiral for the company was in full swing. HTC’s global smartphone shipments fell -2% YoY in Q4 2014 -- in a total market growing +31% YoY. This was the vendor’s twelfth straight quarter of global volume declines and it continues to lose traction in the valuable North America and China regions.

Where does HTC go from here?

To recover growth in 2015, HTC plans to launch more mid-range smartphone models in key territories like Taiwan, and to expand into tablets and wearables. However, a more diversified product portfolio will take resources and time to develop -- time and money that HTC simply does not have in its current weakened state.

We recommend HTC's best option is to find a white-knight merger partner. One that can bring stability and investment for R&D, marketing and enhanced retail distribution. Possible merger partners for HTC could include Microsoft (scale), Huawei (ambition) or Xiaomi (internationalizing).

For more analysis and forecasting of HTC and its future outlook, please visit our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service here.


February 26, 2015 12:02 nmawston

According to the latest research from our WSS (Smartphones) research service, global smartphone operating profit reached US$21 billion in Q4 2014. The Android operating system captured a record-low 11 percent global smartphone profit share during the quarter. In contrast, Apple iOS took a record-high 89 percent profit share.

Global smartphone operating profit grew 31 percent annually from US$16.2 billion in Q4 2013 to US$21.2 billion in Q4 2014. Android hardware vendors combined took a record-low 11 percent global smartphone profit share, down from 29 percent one year ago. In contrast, Apple iOS captured a record-high 89 percent profit share, up from 71 percent in Q4 2013.

Apple iOS continues to tighten its grip on the smartphone industry. Apple’s strategy of premium products and lean logistics is proving hugely profitable. Android’s weak profitability for its hardware partners will worry Google. If major smartphone manufacturers, like Samsung or Huawei, cannot make decent profits from the Android ecosystem, they may be tempted in the future to look at alternative platforms such as Microsoft, Tizen or Firefox. 

Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Operating Profit Share in Q4 2014  [1]

Global Smartphone Operating Profit (US$, Billions)

Q4 2013

Q4 2014

Apple iOS

11.4

18.8

Android

4.8

2.4

Microsoft

0.0

0.0

BlackBerry

0.0

0.0

Others

0.0

0.0

Total

16.2

21.2

     

Global Smartphone Operating Profit Share (%)

Q4 2013

Q4 2014

Apple iOS

70.5%

88.7%

Android

29.5%

11.3%

Microsoft

0.0%

0.0%

BlackBerry

0.0%

0.0%

Others

0.0%

0.0%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

     

Total Growth Year-over-Year  %

~

31.4%

     

Source: Strategy Analytics

   

 



[1]  Numbers are rounded. Data refers to realized operating profit for smartphone hardware vendors aggregated by operating system.


February 26, 2015 00:08 nmawston

According to the latest research from our WSS (Smartphones) research service, global smartphone users reached 2 billion for the first time ever in 2014.

One in three of the world’s population now owns a smartphone.

Global smartphone users grew 37 percent from 1.5 billion in 2013 to reach 2.1 billion users in 2014. This is the first time worldwide smartphone users have surpassed the two-billion level. We forecast global smartphone users to increase a further 22 percent to 2.5 billion in 2015. An impressive 35 percent of the world’s 7.2 billion population will own a smartphone by the end of 2015, up from 29 percent in 2014.

Well over 2 billion people worldwide own a smartphone today. The smartphone has become one of the most widespread electronic devices of all time. The smartphone is ubiquitous and it is rapidly evolving to become a central hub for controlling consumers’ daily lives in the home, car and office of the future.

 

Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Users in 2013 to 2015  [1]

Global Smartphone Users (Billions of Units)

2013

2014

2015

Total Smartphone Users

1.5

2.1

2.5

Total Population

7.0

7.1

7.2

Total Smartphone Users as % of Total Population

22%

29%

35%

       

Source: Strategy Analytics

 

 

 

 



[1]  Numbers are rounded. A “user” is defined as a person who owns and uses one or more active smartphones.


February 11, 2015 06:30 nmawston

As expected a few months ago, the world's first Ubuntu smartphone will finally be launched commercially today, Wednesday 11th February, 2015. Right before Mobile World Congress (MWC), the cellphone industry's biggest annual tradeshow.

The device in question is a repurposed BQ E4.5 mid-tier Android model -- but with Android software replaced by Ubuntu.

The new device will be distributed online (in Western Europe only) in a "flash sale" today, followed by three more such events by the close of February.

The BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition has a 4.5-inch screen, 1GB RAM and dual-SIM connectivity. The hardware specs are good, but not groundbreaking, at that midrange pricepoint.

There will also, eventually, be a Meizu MX4 Ubuntu model launched in China in H1 2015. Meizu is currently the 11th largest smartphone vendor in China.

For the apps ecosystem, Ubuntu does not yet have a recognized apps store, but it does offer "scopes" that are single-screen windowpanes / homescreens on the handset for apps and services. For example, there is a "scope" (app) for Web-browsing, social networking, and so forth.   

BQ is a top-10 smartphone vendor in Spain. Like Wiko France, Xiaomi China and Micromax India, BQ Spain is a "local" smartphone vendor that is attempting to gain marketshare through local apps, local distribution and good, old-fashioned hardware price-cuts. So far, BQ has grown relatively well at home in Spain, but its international presence outside the country is tiny.

It is good to see innovation from Ubuntu, but BQ's (and Meizu's) new device will NOT worry the likes of Apple and Samsung. The BQ Ubuntu phone has limited global distribution, a limited apps ecosystem, limited developer support and limited hardware-vendor support. Our WSS (Smartphones) service forecasts Ubuntu to account for just 1% share of all smartphone shipments worldwide in 2015. Ubuntu will struggle to make headway in the crowded smartphone market.


February 6, 2015 08:15 PLin

According to the latest report ‘Global Smartphone OS Market Share by Region: Q4 2014from our  Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) research service, global smartphone shipments grew to record levels in Q4 2014. Android registered its first ever year-on-year decline in marketshare, while Apple gained traction on a quarterly basis, driven by strong demand for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Microsoft and Blackberry drifted down annually. Firefox continued its gradual uptick as the emerging platform targeted major countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Our extensive report contains global smartphone shipments by operating system by quarter from 2009 to Q4 2014. The report is valuable for mobile stakeholders who want to size the huge market for smartphones and operating system market share. The report is available here to our paid clients.


January 29, 2015 11:24 nmawston

According to the latest research from our WSS (Smartphones) service, global smartphone shipments grew 30 percent annually to reach a record 1.3 billion units in 2014. Android accounted for 81 percent of all smartphones last year and shipped over 1 billion units worldwide for the first time ever.

Global smartphone shipments grew 30 percent annually from 1.0 billion units in 2013 to a record 1.3 billion in 2014. Emerging markets, such as China and Indonesia, drove the industry’s growth last year and they will continue to do so through 2015.

Android shipped 1.0 billion smartphones worldwide in 2014, rising from 0.8 billion units in 2013. Android has become the first ever smartphone operating system to ship more than 1 billion units in a single year. Android accounted for a huge 81 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally in 2014, and Apple iOS remains its only serious threat for now. Apple iOS shipped 192.7 million smartphones worldwide in 2014, capturing 15 percent share. The new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models have recently re-energized Apple’s growth and their bigger-screen designs have swiftly gained traction among wealthy consumers.

Microsoft shipped 38.8 million smartphones for a relatively niche 3 percent marketshare worldwide in 2014. Microsoft’s Windows platform dominates PCs, but it continues to struggle in smartphones. Microsoft still lacks multiple major hardware partners to build its phones, while Microsoft’s retail presence in important countries like China remains tiny.

 

Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Operating System Shipments and Marketshare in Q4 2014  [1]

Global Smartphone OS Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q4 '13

2013

Q4 '14

2014

Android

227.3

780.8

291.7

1042.7

Apple iOS

51.0

153.4

74.5

192.7

Microsoft

9.6

35.8

11.3

38.8

Others

2.3

20.0

2.6

9.3

Total

290.2

990.0

380.1

1283.5

         

Global Smartphone OS Marketshare (%)

Q4 '13

2013

Q4 '14

2014

Android

78.3%

78.9%

76.7%

81.2%

Apple iOS

17.6%

15.5%

19.6%

15.0%

Microsoft

3.3%

3.6%

3.0%

3.0%

Others

0.8%

2.0%

0.7%

0.7%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

 

 

 

 

 

Total Growth: Year-over-Year (%)

33.7%

41.4%

31.0%

29.6%

         

Source: Strategy Analytics

       

 



[1]  Numbers are rounded.


January 28, 2015 21:00 nmawston

According to the latest research from our WSS (Smartphones) service, global smartphone shipments grew 31 percent annually to reach a record 380 million units in the fourth quarter of 2014. Apple tied with Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone vendor.

Global smartphone shipments grew 31 percent annually from 290.2 million units in Q4 2013 to a record 380.1 million in Q4 2014. An impressive 1.3 billion smartphones were shipped worldwide in 2014, with very strong growth seen last year in emerging markets such as China, India and Africa.

Apple shipped 74.5 million smartphones worldwide and captured a record 20 percent marketshare in Q4 2014, increasing from 18 percent a year earlier. Apple’s new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models are proving wildly popular in China, United States and Europe. Apple tied with Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone vendor for the first time since Q4 2011. Samsung shipped 74.5 million smartphones worldwide and captured 20 percent marketshare in Q4 2014, dipping from 30 percent in Q4 2013. Samsung continues to face intense competition from Apple at the higher-end of the smartphone market, from Huawei in the middle-tiers, and from Xiaomi and others at the entry-level. Samsung may soon have to consider taking over rivals, such as Blackberry, in order to revitalize growth this year. Samsung remained the number one smartphone player globally on a full-year basis in 2014.

Lenovo merged officially with Motorola to capture 6 percent global smartphone marketshare and take third position in Q4 2014. Lenovo is hoping to leverage Motorola’s famous brand to drive global scale this year and to offset some of Lenovo’s recently weakening smartphone growth at home in China. Meanwhile, Huawei shipped a robust 24.1 million smartphones for 6 percent share and fourth position worldwide in Q4 2014. Huawei is expanding rapidly online in China and through retailers across Africa, enabling it to become an emerging powerhouse in developing markets.


 

Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments and Marketshare in Q4 2014  [1]

Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q4 '13

2013

Q4 '14

2014

Samsung

86.0

319.8

74.5

317.2

Apple

51.0

153.4

74.5

192.7

Lenovo-Motorola

18.8

62.1

24.7

92.7

Huawei

16.6

50.4

24.1

74.1

Others

117.8

404.3

182.3

606.8

Total

290.2

990.0

380.1

1283.5

         

Global Smartphone Vendor Marketshare (%)

Q4 '13

2013

Q4 '14

2014

Samsung

29.6%

32.3%

19.6%

24.7%

Apple

17.6%

15.5%

19.6%

15.0%

Lenovo-Motorola

6.5%

6.3%

6.5%

7.2%

Huawei

5.7%

5.1%

6.3%

5.8%

Others

40.6%

40.8%

48.0%

47.3%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

 

 

 

 

 

Total Growth: Year-over-Year (%)

33.7%

41.4%

31.0%

29.6%

         

Source: Strategy Analytics

       


[1]  Numbers are rounded.


January 22, 2015 07:47 PLin

According to the latest report, Global Smartphone Sales Forecast: Offline vs. Online -- from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) research service -- the distribution of smartphones through online channels will grow an above-average +21% worldwide in 2015. North America, Western Europe and China are especially active, and those regions are experiencing a Golden Age for online smartphone distribution.

Our report forecasts global smartphone offline and online distribution flows for 6 major regions and 3 key countries from 2007 to 2020, including North America, Western Europe, Latin America, China, Japan and India. The forecasts can be used by smartphone vendors, vehicle makers, apps developers and others to identify the main regional channels where smartphones are being sold, and how rapidly online channels are emerging alongside, and in some cases displacing, offline distribution. The report is available here to clients.


November 26, 2014 13:43 PLin

According to the latest report -- Global Smartphone Shipments by Family / Model: Q3 2014 -- from our Handset Country Share Tracker (HCST) research service, global smartphone shipments grew +28% annually in Q3 2014. Consumers and operators continue to be attracted to a handful of preferred brands, preferred families and preferred models during the quarter.

We estimate the top 15 families of models accounted for 6 in 10 of total smartphones shipped worldwide during the quarter. Samsung and Apple top the charts, but LG's G and L series, Huawei's Ascend, Lenovo's A series and Xiaomi's Redmi phones are quietly gaining traction.

Our extensive report -- published to clients here -- tracks the world's best-selling smartphone top 15 families and top 50 models by shipment volumes from Q1 2011 to Q3 2014. It is a valuable tool for component makers, car manufacturers, content suppliers, mobile operators, device vendors and other stakeholders who want to identify and measure the world's most-popular smartphones by individual model.


November 26, 2014 13:19 PLin

According to the latest report -- ‘Smartphone Vendor ASP and Revenue Share by Region: Q3 2014 -- from our Handset Country Share Tracker (HCST) research service, global smartphone industry revenues rose +13% annually in Q3 2014. Apple regained the first spot by revenue. Samsung dipped to second spot by revenue, but maintained its first place in volume. LG maintained third by volume. For the first time ever, Xiaomi jumped into the top 5 list by smartphone revenue, driven by strong shipments growth. 

Our extensive
report -- available to clients here -- provides quarterly global smartphone wholesale ASP, revenue and shipment metrics for 16 major OEMs across six major regions from Q1 2012 to Q3 2014. It is a valuable tool for operators, component manufacturers, carmakers, financial analysts and other stakeholders who want to track smartphone pricing and the financial health of major vendors on a regional basis.