Where are the key growth opportunities for smartphones? What are the effects of the increasing division between the opportunities of maturing regions and the emerging regions? These are questions that vendors must consider as the worldwide marketplace for these devices evolves.
Juniper Research estimates that the number of smartphone shipments reached 286 million in Q1 2014, representing 34 percent year-over-year growth and 1 percent quarter-over-quarter growth.
Samsung accounted for 30 percent of all smartphone shipments globally, with an estimated 85 million shipments during the quarter. While the company’s market share remained broadly flat on the previous quarter, this represented a record Q1 for Samsung with a y-o-y growth in shipments of 25 percent.
Meanwhile, Apple also posted its best ever first quarter -- shipping 43.7 million iPhones, representing a y-o-y growth of 17 percent. Nevertheless, Apple’s shipment volume fell by 14 percenet compared with the traditionally strong fourth quarter, while its market share slipped from 18 percent in Q4 2013 to 15 percent in Q1 2014.
Impact of Slowing Growth and Falling Prices
This deceleration of growth for smartphones is expected to continue in Q2 2014 due to the fact that in developed markets, the opportunity for growth is extremely limited.
Conversely, in emerging markets where smartphone adoption is currently limited, growth will fuel the continuing fall in retail prices for entry level smartphones.
Juniper anticipates that the global ASP (Average Selling Price) of smartphones will decline at an average annual rate of 3.8 percent over the next four years with the decline most marked in the Indian Subcontinent, followed by Africa and the Middle East.
Motorola announced that it sold some 6.5 million smartphones in Q1 2014, driven by its best-selling smartphone, the Moto G device. Juniper estimates that the combined Motorola-Lenovo smartphone shipments for Q1 2013 exceeded 20 million, putting the joint entity into a third place.
However, Lenovo’s acquisition of Motorola is currently pending regulatory approval. Meanwhile, Nokia reported a 30 percent decline in mobile sales revenue since last year owing to increased competition.
Other smartphone vendors -- including LG, Huawei and ZTE -- have managed to maintain their market share, and together are estimated to have shipped over 38 million smartphones.
The current outlook in developed markets creates the environment for the next wave of smartphone innovations -- this evolution will most likely occur via more integrated valued-added cloud services.