Wireless Smartphone Strategies

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

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.


June 4, 2014 23:00 lsui

In the newly published report : BRIC Country Smartphone Revneus, ASPs and Price-Tier Forecasts : 2009-2020 from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) services, we forecast mobile smartphone revenues to grow 16% worldwide during 2014. At the same time, the four BRIC countries combined -- Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- will all grow at rates well above the global average. Led by China, BRIC countries will generate 36% of global smartphone revenues in 2014.

Among the four countries in 2014, China will experience the highest revenue & ASP growth rate, propelled by the decrease in ultra-low tier market and the increase in other higher price range segments. Meanwhile, we forecast China will surpass the US to become the largest smartphone market in revenues this year. 

Among BRIC countries, India is the second-largest market behind China in volume and value terms, taking approximately 3.4% of global smartphone revenues in 2014, and growing to 6.2% by 2020.


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.

 

 


August 9, 2013 23:15 lsui

According to the newly published report from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) services : Global Smartphone Vendor Market Share by Region: Q2 2013, Global smartphone shipments grew +49% annually -- a new record for the second quarter of the year. Growth was at the highest rate for over a year, as strong growth in many developing markets more than offset maturing postpaid penetration in developed markets.

For the first time ever, top 4 Chinese brands, ZTE, Huawei, Lenovo and Coolpad, occupied No. 4 to No. 7 position respectively, following the top three camp Samsung, Apple and LG. The four Chinese brands combined took 19% of global smartphone volume share this quarter, up from 14% one year ago. All of them still heavily rely on China market which showed little sign of cooling.


June 10, 2013 18:24 lsui

Our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) services freshly published Global Smartphone Distribution Forecast : Offline vs. Online report. WSS clients please click this link to access the full report.

The distribution of smartphones through online retail channels will grow an above-average +24% worldwide in 2014. North America, Western Europe and China are especially active and those regions are experiencing a Golden Age for online smartphone distribution. Of Which Western Europe to represent the highest smartphone online % in 2014.

Independent retailers in many parts of Europe, like Carphone Warehouse UK, are important online as well as offline channels, but operators are also key online distribution channels in these markets. Important online countries in the region include UK, Germany and France. We think European smartphone buyers online are broadly found in two segments today -- they are either purchasing low-end SIM-free or prepaid models to save money or give as gifts; or they are buying high-end models in mid-contract or post-contract to replace aging, broken or lost devices.

This report forecasts global smartphone offline and online distribution flows for 6 major regions and 3 key countries from 2007 to 2017, 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.


May 22, 2013 17:50 lsui

Our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) services freshly published Global Smartphone Wholesale Revenue, ASP and Price-Tier Forecast Report today. Please click here to access the full report.

Global smartphone wholesale (trade) revenues are forecasted to grow 22% in 2013 as high-end superphones, phablets and operator subsidies continue to drive the market to new heights. The rate of growth, however, will slow to lower single digits beginning in 2015 as swiftly falling prices offset the continued volume growth.

Smartphone wholesale (trade) ASPs  dropped to 5% in 2012, mainly because of the greater portion and volume of entry and mid-tier models, which combined contributed to 37% of total smartphone volume in 2012, up from 20% one year ago. Emerging markets, such as China, saw a robust smartphone booming thanks to the increased availability from local brands, lower price and Chinese operators’ solid subsidies. The surging volumes in emerging markets significantly boosted up global smartphone volumes, while also drew down ASPs. We expect ASPs will  continue their decline during the forecast period.

North America will continue to have the highest smartphone ASP in the world through 2017, while the soaring volumes have been making Asia Pacific as the most valuable market through from 2011 onwards.

This detailed report forecasts global smartphone sales volume, revenues and wholesale ASPs by six major regions and five price-tiers from 2003 to 2017. Extensive analysis of the premium, high, mid, entry and ultra-low price-bands is included. The report is a valuable tool for device vendors, operators, component manufacturers, software developers, financial analysts, car makers, and other stakeholders who want to measure the smartphone market by value or price-brand and benchmark their pricing strategies.

 


April 18, 2013 01:58 lsui

HTC中国从4月15号起在自己的网上商店开始提供手机定制服务,顾客可以根据自己的星座和性别来选择颜色, ROM,照相机的像素和配件。目前此服务只针对E1这一款机型。

电商渠道在中国的智能手机市场发挥越来越大的作用,我们的 Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) services 预测今年将会有17%的智能手机通过电商渠道进行销售。在竞争激烈的中国智能手机市场,通过提供定制化的电商服务无疑是一个有意义的尝试。但是对于HTC来说,如何进一步降低售价,切入中低端市场才是其在这个竞争白热化市场的生存之道。不过如果有一天,当更多的手机功能都可以通过个人定制化的服务来选择的话,那现在这个黑白平板一统智能机天下的格局是否会变得更加人性化和差异化呢?


March 26, 2013 22:32 lsui

我们的 Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) 服务发布了2012年全球智能手机排行榜,中国的宇龙酷派跃居到全球智能手机出货量的第11名,取得了2。6%的市场份额。它的智能手机出货量同比增长了108%。凭借这在中国这个最大的智能手机市场中的骄人表现,这家位于深圳的中国公司能否进一步夯实海外市场,进入2013年全球智能手机十强的榜单呢?

除了在中国3G智能手机市场风声水起之外,宇龙酷派在海外LTE市场也取得了不错的成绩。我们的Handset Country Share Tracker (HCST)服务监测到其第一款LTE手机2012年在美国的运营商MetroPCS取得了将近一百万部的销量。

海外市场,尤其是欧美市场对于这个崛起的中国厂商而言意味着机会,也充满了挑战。对于酷派,我们建议:

- 推出拥有统一子品牌的旗舰机型,进一步增强品牌号召力。把更多的机型都纳入到旗下的子品牌之中,形成品牌的凝聚力和合力;

- 针对海外预付费市场和运营商推出定制化的机型。中国厂商的价格优势在价格敏感度较高的预付费市场能得到充分发挥;

- 准备应对潜在的知识产权风险和诉讼。宇龙酷派一定规模的手机专利积累可以作为谈判和交换的筹码;

- 品牌和市场的建设推广是一个中长期的投入过程,罗马不是一天建成的,对于成熟市场,中国品牌需要的是恒心和坚持;

- 在海外市场直面来自华为中兴的竞争。和后两者相比,宇龙酷派无论在品牌,渠道,还是多重产品线的布局方面都处于劣势。应该更多在细分市场和差异化的服务方面寻找机会和突破口;

- 进一步增强产品的盈利能力。在中低端价格段保证产品的规模和数量,在中高端利用旗舰机型来提升人气和赢利能力。