The global market for smartphones continues to evolve into distinct segments -- where the price is a key point of differentiation. The latest worldwide assessment categorizes the smartphone market into five price bands: Ultra-Premium, Premium, Standard, Economy and Ultra-Economy.
Juniper Research estimates that the number of smartphone shipments exceeded a quarterly record of 250 million in the third quarter (Q3) of 2013, representing a y-o-y growth of almost 49 percent from Q3 2012, and q-o-q growth of 10 percent.
Samsung now accounts for a third of all smartphones shipped with an estimated 85 million smartphones -- that's a new record for the company. They also reported a 26 percent growth in profit, driven by an increase of smartphone sales in both Premium and Economy segments.
The Apple iPhone accounted for 1 in 7 smartphone shipments during Q3 2013, representing a quarterly growth of 8 percent from Q2 2013.
Juniper’s latest research forecasts that Apple and Samsung will continue to dominate the global market, shipping 17 percent more smartphones in 2018 than were shipped globally by all vendors in 2012.
Exploring the Smartphone Differentiation Strategies
These top end players are expected to continue to witness impressive growth next quarter due to seasonality, however Juniper expects a steady decline in growth thereafter especially in maturing markets.
At this point, unique product features or targeted capabilities become vital to continued success, and the strategies used to achieve differentiation need to be very distinct for maturing and emerging markets.
Juniper notes that increasingly vendors will be required to anticipate customers future needs, while at the same time creating product aspirations that customers will find desirable.
This highly targeted market segmentation will become of paramount importance as new customers become a scarce resource and vendor churn becomes a major factor in all categories.
Shifting Market Share for the Second Tier Players
Nokia shipped a record 8.8 million Lumia devices and nearly 6 million Asha smartphones in Q3 2013, together exceeding LG for the second time this year.
LG maintained its smartphone shipment pace compared to the previous quarter, shipping another 12 million in Q3 2013, representing a 24 percent increases year-over-year.
BlackBerry’s recent results – which run to a different financial schedule – are expected to see them ship just under 4 million smartphones in Q3 2013.
In the three months to the end of August 2010, BlackBerry clocked up some 12 million smartphone shipments and more than $4.6 billion in revenues; in its most recent quarter, smartphone shipments had fallen to a paltry 3.7 million against revenues of less than $1.6 billion; the costs of sales were now exceeding the revenues earned.
Huawei, ZTE and LG together shipped over 37 million smartphones in Q3 2013, accounting for a combined market share of 15 percent.