August 2011
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Day August 5, 2011

A new view into the phone market

The profitability (aka Profit/Phone x Phones Sold, aka Rawr) chart is a great way to see the “shape” of the industry at a glance, with attention to volume and profitability.

What is missing however is a perception of the sales level and the pricing of the products. To help in that regard, I prepared an extension to the profitability chart which covers the price and sales for each participant.

You can interpret this graph as an extension of the profitability chart where the “empty” or white areas above each profit area are payments to suppliers and operating expenses. Thus the sum of empty and filled areas (above zero) are equivalent to revenues. If the sum of the empty and filled areas are greater then revenues (i.e. they extend below zero) then the difference is operating losses.

The top of both empty and filled rectangles are set at the average selling price per phone (and the top of each filled rectangle is the operating profit per phone). The width of both rectangles is the volume of phones shipped.

The things you can read into this chart are:

The Competition

Smartphones made up about 30% of global phone sales last quarter. That is a significant increase from 10% in Q4 of 2007.

From this perspective, iPhone obtained 5.6% share, Android 14.2%, Nokia Symbian 4.6%, RIM 3.6%, Bada 1.1% and Windows 0.4%.

The competition however still has 70.5%.

The chart to the right shows the challenge remaining and the progress being made.

The good news is that the non-smartphone market is not growing while the smartphone market is. In fact, the non-smart market has had a three year CAGR of 0% and a y/y growth of 1.0% and a sequential decline of 6%.

The non-smart portion of each branded vendor’s business is pretty dismal:

  • Nokia saw 17.57% decline y/y
  • Samsung’s non-smart business declined by 8.14%
  • Sony Ericsson’s dropped by a dramatic 80%
  • LG’s fell by 38.56%
  • Motorola is the only one that grew y/y, by 17.86.

The reason all these brands fell is because the unbranded vendors took their place. “Other” non-smartphones grew by 43%. They have been sustaining growth at the rate of 57% compounded over three years.

The following chart shows the increasing share taken by the “other” vendors in non-smartphone units: