Gartner’s Q1, 2013 mobile phone and smartphone shipment numbers provide the same set of observations
1. The total mobile phone shipment numbers have been stagnant YoY (425.8 million Q1, 2013 versus 422 million Q1, 2012) …
2. …. Bogged by 22% decline in feature phone shipments (215.7 million Q1, 2013 versus 275 million Q1, 2012)…
3. …. And Buoyed by 43% increase in the smartphone shipments (210 million Q1, 2013 versus 147 million Q1, 2012)!
4. Smartphone sales accounted for 49.3 percent of sales of mobile phones worldwide in the first quarter, up 34.8 percent year-on-year.
5. Only the Asia/Pacific region contributed to mobile phone sales across the globe, with a 6.4 percent increase year-on-year. More than 226 million mobile phones were sold to end users in Asia/Pacific in the first quarter of 2013, which helped the region increase its share of global mobile phones to 53.1 percent year-on-year. China saw its mobile phone sales increase 7.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013, and its sales represented 25.7 percent of global mobile phone sales, up nearly 2 percentage points year-on-year.
6. Samsung rules the smartphone roost growing by 51% YoY. In Fact, Samsung presence in Smartphone segment is so overwhelming that its sales and market shares are almost equivalent of its next 4 competitors put together (Apple, LG, Huawei, ZTE)
7. Apple, is estimated to have secured 18.2 percent of global marketshare, a drop of 4.3 percentage points. Apple’s redemption has been the Chinese market with the lower price of the iPhone 4 making China a key revenue generator for the tech giant. However, with no new products due from the Apple stable until the fall, the next quarter may drag Apple’s market shares significantly downward.
8. In terms of operating systems, Android continues to race ahead of rival systems, claiming 74.4 percent of global marketshare. 156.1 million smartphones running Google’s operating system were sold in the first quarter, whereas Apple’s iOS claimed an 18.2 percent slice of the market with iPhone sales. With new OSs coming to market such as Windows,Tizen, Firefox and Mozila, one can expect some market share to be eroded, but not enough to question Android’s volume leadership.
This is the second part of a two part blog on Apple reliving the mistakes that Nokia made 4-5 years back. Read Part I here.
Both Nokia (2007) and Apple (2012-13) were trying to time and control consumer preferences in terms of the features and the screen. Conversely, that was akin to letting the competition in thrugh the back door. Instead of creating the future by out-innovating on the feature roadmap – Both the companies were possibly trying to amass the cost benefits from standardized feature formats.
Tim Cook’s comment on this issue, “Our competitors have made some significant tradeoffs in many of these areas to ship a larger display. We would not ship a larger display iPhone while these tradeoffs exist. Some customers value large screen size. Others value other factors such as resolution, color quality, white balance, reflectivity, power consumption, compatibility of apps, and portability.”
The strongest parallel is how both companies started fighting the consumer preference for larger displays at the peak of their profitability… and then dug in as margins began eroding rapidly. Sample this: Phablets as a segment are already likely to make up more than 15% of smartphone market in 2013 – And Apple chooses to give this market a miss. At the peak of its prowess, Nokia executives talked about the performance trade-offs of big-screen phones: power consumption troubles plaguing big-screen phones; surveys showing that most consumers prefer smaller models. On and on and on, an endless stream of justifications and carefully constructed defenses, lecturing consumers about what they should want to buy. Do you see the pattern?
Apple already has a well learnt lesson – the iPad Mini which was sacrilegious in terms of Steve Jobs’ definition of a tablet is the one that is holding the fort for Apple against the medium/low cost Androids.
Secondly, Apple’s smartphone market shares now seem to be on the wane with Androids from Samsung doing the pincer attack – both from the top end and the economy smartphones. As smartphone penetration moves from early adopters to mass-market and laggard consumer segments, the smartphone as a product will be less dependent on technical superiority, and more dependent on reliability and value – and it is Apple’s market to loose. (The gainers will mostly be the ZTE, Huawei and Alcatels of the world). As reported by Juniper, Samsung’s smartphone volumes are 2X that of Apple’s. AllianceBernstein predicts that Apple’s market share in smart phones will fall to about 12% this quarter, compared to 23% in the same quarter of 2012. Further, the firm predicts that Apple’s market share may fall into single digits next quarter. IDC’s Q1 market shares also show Apple slowing down on its growth trajectory (YoY).
Apple needs to look at the next evolution of iPhone – the mid level low cost iPhone. The iPhone 5S is already confirmed to be only an incremental over the iPhone5 – and is not going to incite mass hysteria as iPhones normally have done. A low cost iPhone could also be critical for Apple especially because ABI estimates the low cost smartphone market will more than triple, in devices sold, between now and 2018 whereas the mid-range will grow at only (roughly) 50%.
For the present, Apple and Tim Cook look to be in a denial state – which is further going to bleed Apple. The high margin strategy is a great things for share holders – but then market presence and numbers is quite another thing. For the love of Apple, I hope it doesn’t going the Nokia way.
Addendum: Just read that Apple may finally be looking at iPhone low cost model and saw a couple of photos as well. Will this turn the tide or is the initiative lost already
Addendum 2: A further validation of loss of Apple’s grip in the smartphones segment is Apple’s declining profit share of the global smartphone industry. Between Q1,2012 and Q1, 2013, Apple’s profit shares of the global smartphone industry declined from 74% to 57%.
Manufacturers shipped 216.2 million smartphones worldwide in Q1, 2013, compared with 189 million regular cellphones, according to IDC. IDC Q1, 2013 numbers compare facorably to 402.4 million units in the Q1,2012 (YoY) and down from 483.2 million units in the Q4, 2012.Smartphones thus made up 51.6 percent of the 418.6 million mobile phones shipped. The shift to a global majority of smartphones is now being driven by consumers in developing countries such as China, India and Indonesia.
Samsung retains the smartphone crown taking 32.7% of the market shipping out 70.7 million smartphones – thus becoming the defacto Android standard. Samsung’s up 61% over a year earlier.Apple slipped in its numbers to close Q1, 2013 at 17.3% of the smartphone market share with 37.4 mln units. Apple’s market share market share fell to 17% from 23% a year earlier. Samsung’s dominance of the smartphone markets is so superior that it ships more smartphones than its next 4 competitors put together.
Total Mobile phone shipments increased 4% YoY driven solely by 41% increase in smartphones compensating 19% drop in dumbphones.
For many of the marketers out there – there is not a great case for Tablets and Smartphones together. Most of them view tablets as a passing fad. This equation is perhaps complicated by the announcement of Phablets as a hybrid form and use factor! However, is Tablet really a fad?
A recent report published by the Adobe Digital Index is an eye opener. For February 2013, Tablets are attributed to be driving more traffic to websites than smartphones. The report is based on 100 billion visits to more than 1,000 websites worldwide over the last year – hence this isnt a fluke that you had blow over. Adobe attributes this shift in web browsing patterns primarily to the device’s form factor, which lends itself to leisurely (and more comfortable) browsing than smaller touch devices.
Listing down a key points on how and why Tablets are not a fad. They are here for good-
1. Frankly, with both WiFi Tablets and Entry-level Smartphones penetrating the $50 price point – the screen size is a big enabler for tablets.
2. As WiFi hotspot roll outs gather momentum – Tablets will push more and more of data.
3. So while Smartphone gathers numbers in the low end – it is the larger screen size devices (3.5″ – 4.0″ – 5″ – 7″- 9.7″) which will posssibly drive higher data consumption.
4. The customer at the economy end of connected devices ($50-$100) tends to use his device as a media machine – again for the $50-70 price – a tablet provides greater value than a 2.8″-3.5″ smartphone given the profusion of pirated content.
5. Tablets are also driving penetration across segments such as education, insurance for the large screen internet access advantage
6. For the Phablet space – this is a sub-category branching out into becoming a category by itself – but its numbers will take some building up – and the pricing still is $200 & above.
7. With tablet growth rates still well above smartphone growth rates, expect this gap to widen
8. Traditionally because of the higher screen size the engagement time on tablets has been higher than the smartphones as well.
Interestingly enough, in mature economies, Tablets have found yet another niche. Tablets are increasingly being used shopping activities.Adobe found that 13.5% of all online sales were transacted via tablets during the recent holiday season. Furthermore, as of January 2012, researchers found that consumers using tablets spent 54 percent more time per online order than their counterparts on smartphones, and 19 percent more than desktop/laptop users.
Thus the key take away from the Adobe report is this – tablets and smartphones are two different animals. Based on consumer use cases, one does not replace the other because mobile device owners are using tablets and smartphones to accomplish different tasks. This has implications on the way e-commerce companies as well as media companies and online content distributors would play up to serve the user. So this really gets into single device – multi use cases scenarios – all of is still building.
Thus i come back to my initial point – Marketers who are apprehensive of the scale and scope of tablets and are unable to fix “proper” answers to tablets, need to understand, there is no single answer… and the answers too are evolving at a fast clip! The risk that they run in trying to perfect the business cases and create understanding is that they could be left out of the markets. Proposition here is possibly not a case of inspiration but of evolution!
Worldwide PC shipments totaled 76.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13), down -13.9% compared to the same quarter in 2012 and worse than the forecast decline of -7.7%, according to the International Data Corporation. This is one of the steepest declines in this segment over the last 19 years.
IDC further states: ” Despite some mild improvement in the economic environment, and some new PC models offering Windows 8, PC shipments were down significantly across all regions compared to a year ago. Fading mini notebook shipments have taken a big chunk out of the low end market while tablets and smartphones continue to divert consumer spending. PC Industry efforts to offer touch capabilities and ultraslim systems have been hampered by traditional barriers of price and component supply, as well as a weal reception for Windows8. The PC industry is struggling to identify innovations that differentiate PCs from other products and inspire conssumers to buy, and instead is meeting significant resistance to changes perceieved as cumbersome or costly”.
Unlike the consumer PC market, the enterprise PC market has seen growth, driven by continuing PC refreshes. The professional market makes up about half of all shipments.
Gartner corroborates the sentiment measuring an 11.2 percent decline quarter over quarter and quarterly shipments of 79.2 million units, a bit higher than IDC’s numbers — and therefore the lowest levels since the second quarter of 2009, per its estimates.
And hence comes the much debated oft enquired questions – Is the PC/Laptop segment going the way of the Dodo??
And the way i see it – and the way i believe it – PCs are not dead. Sidelined – Yes! Dead – No! Steve Jobs would have been correct in a lot of other things – but as far as Post PC era is concerned, i am not the most convinced. To me it always is a PC+ Era – PC + Tablet + Smartphone + Tablet + Watch + Glass + what ever else.
Two principle reasons to support my arguement -
1. PC will be the enterprise hero – it will be the data generator – as opposed to a smartphone, Glass, tablet or watch which will essentially be data consumers and data. There is a point that most of the data will be in Video -but there will still need to be memos and accounts in office parlance. I hardly see any other device doing that as efficiently as the age old PC/Laptop
2. Supporting my numbers for Point 1 – the data generated and conducted through a laptop through 2017 will still be sizeable compared to a lot of other computing machines such as smartphones. The numbers from CISCO VNI on the data per unit machine forecasts through 2011 – 2017 has a point in favour of the Laptop PC.
Even though Laptop contribution to the global data traffic will be around 14%, it would still be the second largest device in terms of data traffic share beyond the ubiquitous smartphone!
Adding the facts and numbers so presented, Laptop category is far from dead – it will be an important member of the convergence and computing econ-system. One that is key to niche computing in enterprises.
Whats your point of view on the future of the laptop?
1. Mobile handset sales in India grew 20.8 per cent to 221.6 million units in 2012 (over 183.4 million units in 2011)
2. Feature phones sales grew 19.9 per cent to 206.4 million in 2012 from 172.2 million in the previous year
3. Although we see a huge market ‘hype’ around smartphones, the fact remains that the India mobile handset market is still dominated by shipments of feature phones.
4. This indicates India is still a ‘new phone’ market, where feature phones contribute to the bulk of shipments compared to replacements or upgrades
5. Smartphones comprised a small chunk of the overall handset market at about 7 per cent, the high-end category grew at a robust 35.7 per cent to 15.2 million devices in 2012 from 11.2 million units in 2011
6. The market remains largely fragmented across a huge number of Players – most of them white labeled Indian brands manufactured in China.
7. With the entry point of smartphones coming down to about Rs.3000-4000, 2013 could be the tipping point for smartphone adoption in India as buyers intending an upgrade purchase would make the jump to smartphones.
IDC in its most recent report indicates that Tablets will surpass Desktops globally by 2013 and notebooks by 2014. IDC indicates, global shipments of smart connected devices to have increased about 30% in 2012, surpassing last year’s 1 billion units shipped with $576.9 billion generated. Tablets pushed the growth rates with a scorching 78% YoY growth (2013 versus 2012).
IDC also notes shipments of desktop PCs will continue dipping, another 4.3 percent, in 2013
Notebooks will see a marginal growth of 0.9 percent.
Tablets, are predicted to register a new high of 190 million units shipped in 2013 with year-over-year growth of more than 48 percent.
IDC says smartphones will also grow another 27 percent, posting 918.5 million units shipments this year.
In terms of OEMs, Apple significantly closes the gap with market leader Samsung in the last quarter of 2012 with the combination of the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini bringing the company up to 20.3 percent unit shipment share as compared to 21.2 percent for Samsung.
Interestingly enough then, PC majors such as HP and Dell would increasingly get outmoded by the likes of Amazon – the antithesis of device majors.
So then, does this mean the end of the PC era? The Post PC era? … as Steve Jobs had crystal gazed. Well, it looks a certainity with these numbers and yet i would claim it as dawn of the PC plus era! Its a contrarian view given the convergence scenario – but i do believe that we will see a mobile stack of 4-5 devices going forward – Smartphone, Tablet, Notebook, Smart Watch or Google Glass and more (Smart TV, Smart Car and Smart Refridgerator not counted).
Tablets will occupy a unique place. PCs will occupy a unique place – Physical keyboards are actually really important. Both devices will co-exist with more and more convertibility and ability to work together. The convergence eco-systems will also work on platform portability across the range of converged devices.
Hence it is not so much as “passover” of the PC as the emergence of new computing devices which only add to the PC to further the case of always on ubiquitous computing.
Long time back, i had written a blog on the subject of smartphones becoming the key handheld at the cost of feature phones. If the Gartner 2012 numbers are to be considered, the saturation point for feature phones has been reached and the 2012 feature phones numbers – have been on a 1.66% decline as against 2011.
Incidentally, i see another trend – that of smaller players/ white-labelled OEMs- and a fragmented market emerging – a far cry from the Nokia and Samsung dominance days. The rise of Android is but actually a testimony to this trend with the exception of Samsung. With no malevolence to Samsung – it does seem to me that Samsung is holding on to a untenable position in shares in mobile devices with the white labeled OEMs on the prowl.
While Apple will still hold on to the smartphone ground (because of its ability to leverage hardware, software , services and experience), Samsung doesnot hold that ace with Android. This inspite of the fact that Samsung Galaxy series was the first high end Android that has challenged and now dethroned technology leadership of the iPhone.
The end result looks like an Android dominated market, though there could be a case of Android fatigue setting in with the audiences. However with the low end $50 smartphones on Android’s the numbers for Android will continue to add up especially in APAC and African markets. Thus Android is expected to still rule the volumes game on smartphones. It would be interesting to see how Windows and Blackberry go after Android – but the key still remains that – Android is the undisputed choice in smartphones in the fastest growing markets across the world. Windows and Blackberry will take time reversing this trend.
As I write this post, I am aware of a considerable hype and excitement that has been created by Sony Experia C660 Yuga Smartphone- 5” Full HD display, Glass Back, Android 4.1.2, Samsung Exynos 5 Quad Core processor, 3GB RAM, 128GB Storage, 16MP Camera and more. Sure that’s excitement- its closer to a laptop than a smartphone and sure that’s big- But I am really not sure –if that enough to get Sony back in the game. Here’s why-
Back in 2005-08, Sony (Then erstwhile Sony Ericsson) was big in devices- the 4th or the 5th in terms of device volumes and revenues, 2nd or 3rd on Profits and an enviable leadership in ASP. As if that wasn’t good enough Sony had a real plan to leverage its other sub brands – Walkman, Cybershot, Handycam, Playstation, Bravia, Sony Pictures, VAIO and Sony Music. Sony thus had enviable stakes in Music, Video, Imaging, Gaming, Computing, Content (both movies and Music) and LCD screens. In 2007, that kind of a portfolio was something that even a Apple couldnot think of for itself. Sony needed Brand extension of its venerable consumer brands into mobility and many believed that Sony had the secret sauce … except that the secret sauce did not happen. In 2009, Sony launched its last big sub brand- Xperia which would stand for its line of smartphones and one hoped that Xperia would marry the Sony heritage of consumer durable brands – 3 years on, the promise is un-fulfilled and Sony is fast fading into “has been” territory in smartphones.
Where did Sony Loose it? Like Nokia, it misread the writing on the wall as a war of features. It did not recognize the importance of putting all this together on a platform and innovate on the platform – something that Apple and Google pioneered with their App stores. Instead it played the marksmanship on device features bettering one sec with another and still with other. The most appalling realization is that Sony hasn’t still done anything to leverage these sub-brands to build a proposition in Mobility even now. That’s where Sony Experia C660 Yuga Smartphone comes in. All hardware, device and specs – no real platform innovation.
Sony has to get its content platform strategy in place – to really cause a dent in the device space. However, I don’t see a platform play happening at Sony which is a little sad given that there is very little profit pool left to maneuver only on the basis of devices. Neither has Sony been able to leverage its sub brands positively to create compelling propositions.