Nokia, Samsung and LG again led the worldwide handset market in Q2, followed by RIM and Sony Ericsson. In the second half of 2010, analysts expect still higher figures and more smartphones.
Nokia, Samsung and LG Electronics led the worldwide handset market through
another growing quarter, Strategy Analytics said in a July 30 report. Handset
shipments reached 308 million units, up 13 percent from 273 million units a
year earlier. Driving this forward motion, said the firm, were high-end 3G
touch phones in developed markets and lower-end 2G handsets in emerging ones.
Following the race leaders were BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion; and
on-RIM's-heels Sony Ericsson; a sixth-position Apple; and close behind the
iPhone maker, Motorola.
Market leader Nokia, with its 36.1 percent market share, saw shipments rise
to 111.1 million from 107.8 million units the quarter before, though it
nonetheless faced criticism for its annual 8 percent growth-which was just
under the industry average.
"We estimate Nokia's global market share of legitimate handset
shipments dipped to 36 percent, compared with 38 percent a year earlier,"
Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston wrote in the report. "The
much-awaited flagship N8 smartphone, with an upgraded Symbian 3 user
experience, should arrive well in time for the European holiday season and help
stabilize profit margins during the second half of the year. However, we
caution that a lack of retail presence and media coverage in the high-value U.S.
3G market means the N8 may not meet its full global sales potential."
Mawston added that MeeGo, the mobile operating system Nokia created with
partner Intel, has been chosen as the reference platform for the GENIVI (IVI
stands for in-vehicle infotainment) car-industry alliance, which means
MeeGo-based services could begin appearing in GENIVI member vehicles, such as
those from GM and BMW, in 2011 or 2012. Such a boost, said Mawston, would help
Nokia compete in the "multiplatform wars" against Android, Microsoft
Samsung, in second place, shipped 63.8 million handsets during the quarter.
That figure was down from the 64.3 million it shipped during the quarter
before, but was nonetheless enough to help it achieve 22 percent year-over-year
Strategy Analytics pointed to robust sales in North and South America, but
soft sales in Europe. Research firm IDC,
which reported second-quarter handset figures in a July 29 report, agreed with
that assessment. Both firms pointed to good days ahead for Samsung, with the
launch of its Galaxy S smartphones.
"The combination of soft demand in Europe, late
launches of key smartphone models and product mix adjustments resulted in
revenue and profit decline for the quarter," stated the IDC
report. "Still, Samsung anticipates improvement during the second half of
the year, as its highly anticipated Galaxy S smartphone series readies for
launch and more touch-screen models are on the way."
LG shipped 30.6 million units during the quarter, for approximately 10
percent market share. IDC points to the
launches of the Android-running Ally and Optimus Q phones as big contributors
to sales, but adds that from a financial perspective, "LG's revenue and
profits declined sharply from a year ago, reflecting ASP declines from an aging
portfolio and expenses
incurred from R&D and marketing."
Fourth-place RIM posted the highest year-on-year growth-40 percent-of any of
the top-five vendors and saw shipments of 11.2 million units. RIM has of late
looked to international markets, such as those in Asia, Europe, Africa and
South America for its strong sales, as it feels the pressure of Apple, Android
and others in the United States.
However, this may turn around a bit with the upcoming
launch of the BlackBerry 6 OS, which Mawston describes as "sorely
needed to improve [RIM's] outlook in North America."
Just behind RIM, fifth-place Sony Ericsson shipped 11 million handsets,
which was down 20 percent year over year but up 5 percent sequentially. IDC
noted Sony's growing emphasis on its smartphone platform for the quarter's
sales, though Strategy Analytics described that company's services strategy as "still
a little confusing" and its sub-brands, such as PlayNow Area, as needing
Apple shipped 8.4 million iPhones, up 61 percent from 5.2 million units a
year ago. Still, Strategy Analytics described the quarter as "mixed."
While profits, revenue and shipments rose, so did public criticism of the
company, following its "intensive production methods in China"
and heavily criticized antenna design in the iPhone 4. Mawston
reiterated Apple's need to assure that "lost hearshare" doesn't
translate to lost market share.
Bringing up the rear, with 8.3 million handset shipments to Apple's 8.4
million, was Motorola. While volumes were half of what they were a year ago,
wrote Mawston, they were offset by ASPs (average selling prices) that surpassed
$200 for the first time in decade.
reincarnation as a smartphone specialist is broadly on track," Mawston
wrote, "with much riding on the success of the premium Droid X model over
the coming months.
Strategy Analytics is forecasting third-quarter handset shipments to reach
325 million units.
IDC Senior Research Analyst Ramon Llamas
expects that in the second half of the year vendors will put an even greater
emphasis on smartphones. While results from the worldwide leaders shouldn't be
underestimated, said Llamas, "upward pressure from vendors outside the
current Top 5 vendors, particularly Apple and Motorola, will provide tough
competition in the quarters to come."
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.