Research Notes

The Smartphone market – is it a segment in its own right?

– We don’t think so…

Many people have firm beliefs about the Smartphone market, what it looks like and how it is developing. Many of those people view this market as a segment in itself – a segment that is developing based on the demand that customers have for this type of product. They view the Smartphone market as a market with a life of its own.
Strand Consult has been analysing the Telecom market for almost 15 years. Today our analyses are part of the foundation of many of the decisions made by some of the most successful companies in the Telecom industry regarding their strategy and outlook on the future. We know what we are talking and writing about and we do business by helping our customers navigate a complex mobile landscape.

If you measure the number of sold devices and market shares, there is no doubt that the iPhone is a small player. On the other hand there is no doubt that the iPhone is well positioned on the Smartphone market.
When people talk about the Smartphone market, it seems like many market players view this market as a segment in its own right, and with its own growth rate, and that the market development of this growth rate mirrors customers demand for smartphones.
Strand Consult disagrees with this view. We believe that only a few customers actually deliberately purchase smartphones and that most customers are in reality interested in a smart mobile phone that is reasonably priced. We believe that in most cases it is more or less a coincidence whether a customer ends up owning a smartphone or a feature
If you take a closer look at how large a share of the phones that Nokia distribute that are based on Series 30 (45 %), Series 40 (40 %) and Series 60 (15 %) and take a look at the focus Nokia now has on GPS after purchasing Navteq and in addition their focus on music and applications, there is no doubt that many of the phones that are today based on Series 40, will in the future be based on Series 60, and thereby be considered to be smartphones.

If Nokia chose to launch a Series 40 replacement, would the reason be to ensure that the Smartphone market explodes, or would the reason be that Nokia is quite simply shifting technology? We believe it is the latter, and we believe this will happen.
If Nokia chooses to shift technology and subsequently experiences an explosion in their sales of smartphones, would that result in people saying that Apple is experiencing pressure from the competition and that their platform is not as successful as it used to be? We believe the answer to that is yes – people would start saying that.
One thing is certain, and that is that many people have a very narrow-minded view about the smartphone market and this is contributing to distorting the mobile reality: that Apple – measured in devices – is a small market player that is fighting against a number of huge market players with high device volumes. We believe that the  smartphone market will explode over the coming years – an explosion that is not due to an increased demand for smartphones, but rather that a number of market players will put Smartphone OSs into their medium-end handsets.

This will result in Smartphone sales significantly increasing, but also that the ASP (average selling price) that handset manufacturers receive for their smartphones will plummet. If you therefore examine the total handset market, we will most probably hardly see any significant ASB growth.

Learn more about this market, order Strand Consult’s free unique report The moment of truth, a portrait of the iPhone today and learn more about Apple’s market – a market that many currently have a wrong impression of. At Strand Consult we base our conclusions on facts and not on assumptions or feelings. That is why we have been successfully doing business in this industry for almost 15 years.

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