Wireless Smartphone Strategies

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

July 17, 2014 18:25 nmawston

According to our WSS (Smartphones) research service, BlackBerry smartphone shipments fell sharply worldwide during Q2 2014. The Canadian vendor continued to struggle in all regions worldwide. However, cost-cutting and inventory destocking helped BlackBerry to trim its financial losses to the lowest level for over a year. A partnership with Amazon Appstore also improved its services portfolio and there are tentative signs that BlackBerry may finally stabilize in the second half of this year.


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.


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 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.

 

 


March 19, 2014 17:26 sbicheno

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, Chinese vendor Oppo is choosing to address the Android smartphone differentiation challenge by attempting to beat its competitors to the most cutting-edge specs. The Find 7, launched today, claims the ability to take 50MP images as its signature USP. The device itself has a 13MP sensor for its main camera, but takes a burst of images and uses software to combine them into a 50MP shot. The ultimate function of such a feature is similar to the post-processing capability enabled by the 41MP sensor in the Nokia Lumia 1020.

Other notable high-end specs in the Find 7 include one of the first QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) screens in this 5.5-inch phablet and 4K video recording at 30fps. All this is supported by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC and quick-charging technology. Oppo has so far offered little further information bar the marketing video below, but our WSS service thinks it’s significant that the latest company to attempt to raise the smartphone spec bar services primarily the Chinese market.


<iframe width="640" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/iZIJlWGHU40?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

 


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 27, 2014 23:24 khyers

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. Huawei, Lenovo and LG were the star performers, capturing a combined 14 percent marketshare worldwide and closing the gap on Apple.

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.

Samsung shipped a record 319.8 million smartphones worldwide and captured 32 percent marketshare in 2013. This was the largest number of units ever shipped by a smartphone vendor in a single year. Despite tough competition from a long tail of Chinese and American brands, Samsung continued to deliver numerous hit models, such as the Galaxy S4 and Note 3.

Apple grew a sluggish 13 percent annually and shipped 153.4 million smartphones worldwide for 15 percent marketshare in 2013, dipping from the 19 percent level recorded in 2012. Apple remains strong in the high-end smartphone segment, but a lack of presence in the low-end category is costing it lost volumes in fast-growing emerging markets such as India.

Samsung and Apple together accounted for almost half of all smartphones shipped worldwide in 2013. Large marketing budgets, extensive distribution channels and attractive product portfolios have enabled Samsung and Apple to maintain their grip on the smartphone industry. However, there is clearly now more competition coming from the second-tier smartphone brands. Huawei, LG and Lenovo each grew their smartphone shipments around two times faster than the global industry average and captured a combined 14 percent marketshare. Huawei is expanding swiftly in Europe, while LG’s Optimus range is proving popular in Latin America, and Lenovo’s Android models are selling at competitive price-points across China. Samsung and Apple will need to fight hard to hold off these and other hungry challengers during 2014.”

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

Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q4 '12

2012

Q4 '13

2013

Samsung

63.0

213.0

86.0

319.8

Apple

47.8

135.8

51.0

153.4

Huawei

10.9

30.2

16.6

50.4

LG

8.6

26.3

13.2

47.6

Lenovo

9.2

23.5

13.6

45.5

Others

77.5

271.3

109.8

373.3

Total

217.0

700.1

290.2

990.0

 

 

 

 

 

Global Smartphone Vendor Marketshare  %

Q4 '12

2012

Q4 '13

2013

Samsung

29.0%

30.4%

29.6%

32.3%

Apple

22.0%

19.4%

17.6%

15.5%

Huawei

5.0%

4.3%

5.7%

5.1%

LG

4.0%

3.8%

4.5%

4.8%

Lenovo

4.2%

3.4%

4.7%

4.6%

Others

35.7%

38.8%

37.8%

37.7%

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

 

 

 

 

The full report, Global Smartphone Shipments Reach a Record 990 Million Units in 2013, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, details of which can be found here.


 

[1]  Numbers are rounded.


January 17, 2014 19:33 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, the global Tizen smartphone installed base will be a niche proposition in 2014 / 2015. Can Samsung get the new mobile operating system off the ground in places like Japan and Western Europe? Can it avoid a "Bada 2.0" scenario?

This extensive published report, available to clients, forecasts global smartphone sales, by 14 operating systems for 88 countries worldwide, from 2007 to 2018. Almost every major country worldwide is covered, including the United States, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and others.



December 13, 2013 16:00 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, Xiaomi worldwide smartphone shipments grew a dramatic 271% in Q3 2013, pushing into our top-10 list of smartphone vendors for the first time ever. It took 2% global smartphone volume share and value share this quarter. Xiaomi's online business model has proven to be successful in China, and its overseas strategy is firming up with developed Asian markets as the most likely next step in 2014. This published report is available to clients here.


May 28, 2013 11:42 nmawston

Apple iOS has reached a fork in the strategic road. Should Apple continue along its current path and do nothing? Or should Apple downscale and upscale into smaller and bigger screens? Extensive analysis and forecasts of Apple iOS sales for 88 countries can be downloaded by clients in this published report, from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service.