April 2013
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Month April 2013

Reasons for iOS outperformance in the US

The comScore mobiLens survey for the US ending February 2013 shows continuing rapid expansion of smartphone usage in the US. Even though the 50% penetration threshold was passed seven months earlier, the rate of new smartphone users was second highest ever recorded with over 1 million new-to-smartphones users every week during February.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 4-5-4.15.52 PM

Overall penetration increased to 57% with nearly 2% of the population switching in one month. Using the average growth rate for the last six periods, the US could see 80% penetration in another 19 months or by Q3/Q4 2014.

Sponsor: Shopster

Shopster is a new kind of groceries list app that learns what you purchase and where, so it can remind you later on.

Whenever you check an item as purchased, Shopster learns the location where you got it. The next time you look for the same thing, a geofenced alarm will be triggered when you are near the location.

Features:

  • Autolearning of locations when checking items as purchased.
  • Geofenced reminders for your products, based on your prior buying history.
  • In-place editing table, for quick corrections and editions.
  • Unique ruler to quickly enter the number of items you need to buy.
  • Smart autocomplete, to assist you entering frequently purchased products, based on your previous history.
  • Reorder items with a simple tap and hold.

Check out Shopster on the AppStore, it’s only $0.99

Sponsorship by The Syndicate

The cost of building Galaxies (and iPhones)

Although Samsung and Apple are acclaimed as the leaders in profit capture for smart (and otherwise) phones, what is not lauded is how much they spend on capital equipment used in the making of these phones.

In 2012 Samsung spent around $20 billion while Apple spent about $10 billion (excluding leasehold improvements or Apple stores but including real estate).

Compare these figures with Intel at $11 billion, Google at $3.2 billion, Microsoft about $2.8 billion and Amazon $3.8 billion (including presumably new distribution centers.)

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 4-4-5.51.15 PM

What each company spends on differs depending on its business model, but as the graph above shows it’s easy to see that there is a class of “big spenders” who spend so much that it makes it hard to imagine just what $10 billion/yr could actually buy.

To get an idea of just how big that figure is consider that

Happy Birthdays

Today is the iPad’s third birthday.  It’s also the mobile (cellular) phone’s 40th birthday.

Whereas the launch of the mobile phone was probably an obscure event, the launch of the iPad was greeted with derision.

It is perhaps with irony that we should greet this auspicious confluence of anniversaries.

The cost of selling Galaxies, updated

Thanks to @jtk0621 via twitter I was able to obtain a quarterly view into Samsung’s SG&A expenditures by cost category.

The value of this data is in being able to understand why Samsung SG&A as a percent of sales remains fairly constant. To recap, the discrepancy with Samsung’s SG&A is that it has grown in proportion to rapidly rising sales. Normally, when sales grow, SG&A grows but when sales grow very rapidly, SG&A grows a bit more slowly since it’s primarily a function of headcount and hiring is necessarily organic and hence slower as a process.

The contrast is shown in the following comparison between Apple’s SG&A and Samsung’s SG&A as a percent of sales. [For more detail on Samsung revenue composition see: The Cost of Selling Galaxies].

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 4-2-3.09.39 PM

Apple’s SG&A has declined as a percent of sales, as one would expect, but Samsung’s hasn’t.

I have hypothesized that the reason for this might be in the practice of “outsourcing” many marketing functions. As Samsung expands promotional efforts, it does so partially by hiring people but even more so by farming out a lot more work. In this way, if and when sales subside, it can pare costs. This practice ensures that it’s not exposed to a huge cost structure that is hard to control. The downside to this approach might be obtaining “quality” marketing as oversight is still depending on inside teams who still have limited resources.

To test this hypothesis, I looked at the types of costs it reports and divided them into two categories:

Category 1 are what might be considered “internal” costs which are in function of employees or operations. These costs are:

  • Salaries
  • Retirement Benefits
  • Commissions
  • Depreciation
  • Amortization
  • Freight

I graphed these costs over time below:

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 4-2-3.12.09 PM

Category 2 costs are those which can be “outsourced” and are in function of budget items. These are:

The Critical Path #78: Facebook Inside

Youtubers, BlackBerries and what Facebook is planning with their “Home on Android”. Horace and Moisés discuss how co-branding, strategy, and secret deals intertwine, with illustrations from Intel, Sony-Ericsson, and Acura

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #78: Facebook Inside.