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.


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 10, 2014 11:27 nmawston

According to our WSS (Smartphones) research servicesmartphone revenues will 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 all global smartphone revenues in 2014. Among the four countries this year, China will experience the highest revenue and ASP growth rate, propelled by the decrease in the 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 by revenue this year.

This extensive published report, available to clients, forecasts BRIC country smartphone sales volume, wholesale revenues, and wholesale ASPs across 8 price-tiers from 2009 to 2020. In-depth 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 each country's smartphone market by value, and benchmark their pricing strategies.


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.


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.

 

 


April 18, 2014 01:29 woh

According to a new report from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, 'Smartphone Sales Forecast by Type: Phablets and Superphones', the superphone from 4 to 5 inch and the phablet from 5 to 6 inch segments are forecast to dominate the global smartphone market through 2020. This trend is already happening presently, and will be predicted to be accelerated by continued and solid consumer demand for bigger screen-sizes above 4 inches. Android is leading the phablet segment, while Apple iOS devices are driving the superphone sector.

Our extensive report, available to our paid clients, forecasts global smartphone sales by type from 2003 to 2020, and it identifies which categories will grow at above-average rates during the next seven years. Types of devices covered include superphablets, phablets, superphones, and standard smartphones.


April 16, 2014 14:44 nmawston

According to a new report from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, global smartphone wholesale (trade) revenues will grow +21% over the next 7 years. Increasing smartphone volumes will be partly offset by decreasing average selling prices (ASP), as vendors and operators penetrate deeper into the price-sensitive prepaid market. Falling component prices will enable sales expansion in lower price-tiers, particularly for emerging markets like Asia and Latin America. Meanwhile, Apple and others will continue to target the subsidy-led premium category.

Our extensive published report, available to clients, forecasts global smartphone sales volume, revenues and wholesale average selling prices (ASP) by 6 major regions and 8 price-tiers from 2003 to 2020. 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 and benchmark their pricing strategies.