Wireless Smartphone Strategies

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

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.


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 5, 2015 14:34 nmawston

Micromax has partnered with Cyanogen -- an Android fork -- to launch its online-only smartphone sub-brand, YU, in India during H1 2015. Micromax is terrified of Xiaomi and the firm is stepping up its efforts to stop the rise of Xiaomi and other rival Chinese vendors. However, the YU program fragments the Android ecosystem and Google will NOT be overjoyed by this latest move from Micromax. More analysis of this emerging challenge for Google can be downloaded by clients here.



October 31, 2014 12:13 nmawston

According to the latest report from our WSS (Smartphones) research service, global smartphone shipments reached 320 million units in the third quarter of 2014. The Android operating system captured a dominant 84 percent global marketshare, squeezing Apple iOS, Microsoft and Blackberry.

Global smartphone shipments grew 27 percent annually from 252.9 million units in Q3 2013 to 320.4 million in Q3 2014. Smartphone growth continues to be driven by robust demand in emerging markets, particularly Asia and Africa Middle East.

Android’s domination of global smartphone shipments remained strong in Q3 2014, with an impressive 84 percent of all smartphones now running Google’s OS. Android’s gain came at the expense of every major rival platform. BlackBerry’s global smartphone share has stayed flat at 1 percent in the past year, due to a lackluster range of BB10 devices. Apple iOS lost one point of share to Android because of its limited presence at the lower end of the smartphone market. Microsoft Windows Phone continued to struggle in China and Japan, and its global smartphone marketshare fell from 4 percent in Q3 2013 to 3 percent during Q3 2014.

 

Android’s leadership of the global smartphone market looks unbeatable at the moment. Its low-cost services and user-friendly software remain attractive to hardware makers, operators and consumers worldwide. However, challenges are emerging for Google. The Android platform is getting overcrowded with hundreds of hardware brands, Android smartphone prices are falling worldwide, and few Android device vendors make profits.



Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone OS Shipments and Market Share in Q3 2014 
[1]

Global Smartphone Operating System Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q3 '13

Q3 '14

Android

205.9

268.0

Apple iOS

33.8

39.3

Microsoft

10.3

10.5

BlackBerry

2.5

2.3

Others

0.4

0.3

Total

252.9

320.4

     

Global Smartphone Operating System Marketshare  %

Q3 '13

Q3 '14

Android

81.4%

83.6%

Apple iOS

13.4%

12.3%

Microsoft

4.1%

3.3%

BlackBerry

1.0%

0.7%

Others

0.2%

0.1%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

     

Total Growth Year-over-Year  %

46.4%

26.7%

     

Source: Strategy Analytics

   

 

 


[1]  Numbers are rounded.


October 30, 2014 10:49 nmawston

Lenovo and Motorola confirmed today, Thursday 30 October 2014, that the US$2.9 billion deal to merge their smartphone divisions has been approved and wrapped up. Two have become one.

According to analysis from our WSS (Smartphones) research service, the "big three" ADVANTAGES of the merger include:

1. Increased scale. Higher volumes can equal lower costs. Lenovo captured 5% marketshare of global smartphone shipments in Q3 2014, while Motorola captured 3% marketshare of global smartphone shipments in Q3 2014. Together, they now hold 8% share of the worldwide smartphone market;

2. Deeper distribution channels. Lenovo and Motorola together can now sell smartphones, tablets and wearables in more countries and in more retail stores, operator stores, online stores, or PC channels;

3. Bigger marketing / R&D budgets. Lenovo and Motorola together can potentially spend or borrow more to fund extra marketing and R&D activities.


The "big three" DISDVANTAGES of the merger include:

1. Lenovo is slowing down. Lenovo's rapid smartphone growth of recent years is now coming to an end, due to fierce competition from Xiaomi and others. Based on our data, Lenovo's global smartphone shpiments annual growth rate has more than halved from +74% YoY in Q3 2013 to +30% YoY in Q3 2014;

2. Motorola is losing money. Motorola continues to make hefty financial losses, due to a relatively large cost-base. Based on Strategy Analytics data, Motorola has NOT made a profit for 4 years;

3. Smartphone mergers usually take several years to integrate. For example, TCL-Alcatel, a Chinese and French merger, took around 5 years to stabilize and sustain growth.


Clearly, Lenovo and Motorola have strong tailwinds -- such as 8% global smartphone marketshare and two well-known brands. But Lenovo and Motorola also face major headwinds. Lenovo's golden era of easy smartphone growth is coming to an end, while Motorola continues to lose money. Merging these two firms next year will NOT be as easy as many expect.


October 29, 2014 23:57 nmawston

According to the latest report from our WSS (Smartphones) research service, global smartphone shipments grew 27 percent annually to reach a record 320 million units in the third quarter of 2014. Xiaomi was the star performer, capturing a record 6 percent marketshare and becoming the world’s third largest smartphone vendor for the first time ever.

 

Global smartphone shipments grew 27 percent annually from 252.9 million units in Q3 2013 to a record 320.4 million in Q3 2014. Smartphone growth was mixed on a regional basis during the quarter, with healthy demand in Asia and Africa counterbalanced by sluggish volumes across North America and Europe due to ongoing changes in the operator subsidy mix.

 

Samsung shipped 79.2 million smartphones worldwide and captured 25 percent marketshare in Q3 2014, dipping from 35 percent a year earlier. Samsung continues to face tough competition from Apple at the higher-end of the smartphone market, from Xiaomi and Huawei in the middle-tiers, and from Lenovo and others at the entry-level. Samsung is aiming to fight back in the next quarter with fresh models such as the Galaxy Note Edge and Note 4. Apple grew a below-average 16 percent annually and shipped 39.3 million iPhones worldwide for 12 percent marketshare in Q3 2014. Apple’s iPhone growth is slowing worldwide because of its limited presence in the fast-growing entry-level segment. Xiaomi was the star performer in the quarter, capturing a record 6 percent marketshare and rising into third place in the global smartphone rankings for the first time ever. Xiaomi’s Android smartphone models are wildly popular in the Chinese market and it shifts millions of them every quarter through its extensive online and operator channels. Xiaomi’s next step is to target the international market in Asia and Europe, where it may face stronger headwinds of low brand awareness and technology-patent challenges next year.

 

LG shipped a record 16.8 million smartphones worldwide in Q3 2014, rising to fourth position and taking 5 percent global share. LG is performing relatively well in the United States and Europe, due to attractive new models such as the G3 and L series. Huawei rounded out the top five players with 5 percent global smartphone share in the quarter. Huawei’s core strengths lie in emerging markets, such as Africa, China and Latin America, where it operates extensive distribution channels.

 


Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments and Marketshare in Q3 2014 
[1]

Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q3 '13

Q3 '14

Samsung

88.4

79.2

Apple

33.8

39.3

Xiaomi

5.2

18.0

LG

12.0

16.8

Huawei

12.7

16.5

Others

100.8

150.6

Total

252.9

320.4

     

Global Smartphone Vendor Marketshare (%)

Q3 '13

Q3 '14

Samsung

35.0%

24.7%

Apple

13.4%

12.3%

Xiaomi

2.1%

5.6%

LG

4.7%

5.2%

Huawei

5.0%

5.1%

Others

39.9%

47.0%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

 

 

 

Total Growth: Year-over-Year (%)

46.4%

26.7%

     

Source: Strategy Analytics

   


[1]  Numbers are rounded.


October 28, 2014 21:14 nmawston

According to a new report from our WSS (Smartphones) research servcice, Apple shipped 39 million iPhones worldwide in Q3 2014. Its annual shipment growth rate was only +16% and it continues to slow down. However, weaker shipments are being offset by a stronger ASP, which increased for the first time in two years due to a higher mix of expensive iPhone 6 models. More analysis of Apple's pricing can be viewed by clients here.