Apple captured two thirds of available mobile phone profits in Q2

The major publicly traded phone vendors have all reported results for the second quarter. Based on the data available so far we can begin putting together a picture of the market.

The first picture I’ll draw is usually the last: profitability. The following chart shows operating profit from the sale of mobile phones among the eight vendors I follow (Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony-Ericsson, Motorola, HTC, Apple, RIM).

This quarter saw a slight sequential decline in overall profit for the sector, but four vendors did not manage a profit from selling phones. Nokia, Motorola, Sony-Ericsson and LG all saw losses. The other vendors split the slightly decreased pie with Apple getting two thirds of it (66.3%)

This share is up from 57% in Q1 and 50% in Q3 and Q4. Samsung’s share went to 15%, though that’s not a peak level historically. In Q1 2008 the company was at 21%. RIM was at 11%, a level in a range that has been unchanged for three years. Finally, HTC captured 7.4%, a new high and an increase from 6% since last quarter.  The profit share chart follows:

The ranking chart for profitability follows:

Finally, the “before-and-after” view of profit capture showing the change in profit share over a four year period.


The story remains largely unchanged from last quarter: Three companies which captured 11% of the profits before the modern smartphone era started (four years ago!) now capture 84% of the profits. Only one global brand phone vendor selling non-smart voice-oriented feature phones is still profitable however, as we shall see later, the only reason profits still exist for any vendor is due to the strength of their smartphone portfolio.