The smartphone market in China became saturated between Q3’12 and Q4’13 as per the below chart from Analysys International (EnfoDesk):
Note that this chart corresponds to Chinese writing traditions, i.e. in Q2’11 16.81 million smartphones and 51.01 million feature phones were sold, while in Q4’13 97.63 million smartphones and 9.2 million feature phones. Source: 易观分析：2013年第4季度中国手机销量增速放缓，智能手机市场呈现饱和态势 (Analysys analysis: China mobile phone sales growth slowed in the fourth quarter of 2013, the smart phone market is saturated) [EnfoDesk, March 11, 2014]
Chinese Handset Vendors Will Account for Over 50% of Mobile Handset Sales in 2015 [ABI Research press release, March 10, 2014]
ABI Research reports that Chinese handset vendors will account for over 50% of mobile handsets in 2015. Chinese vendors already accounted for 38% of mobile handset shipments in 2013 and the ongoing shift in growth to low cost handsets, especially smartphones, will increase their market share.
Greater China has long dominated the mobile handset manufacturing supply chain, but now its OEMs are beginning to dominate sales at the expense of the traditional handset OEMs, including even Samsung.
Many of the Chinese OEMs have focused almost exclusively on the huge Chinese market, with little activity beyond its borders, but this is set to change. Huawei (6th in worldwide market share for 2013) and ZTE (5th) have already made an impact on the world stage, but other Chinese handset OEMs like Lenovo—the Motorola acquisition is a clear statement of intent—and Xiaomi are set to join them.
“Chinese vendors already take up five of the top ten places in terms of worldwide market share, despite three of them only really shipping into China. The Chinese vendors highlight the changing shape of the mobile handset market, as the Chinese manufacturing ecosystem, specifically reference designs, enable the next wave of smartphone growth in low cost emerging markets and amongst price conscious consumers everywhere,” said Nick Spencer, senior practice director, mobile devices.
“South East Asia has already experienced this trend, but ABI Research expects to see the impact of these Chinese vendors increasing in all emerging markets and even advanced markets, especially on prepay,” added Spencer.
The New Phone Giants: Indian And Chinese Manufacturers’ Fast Rise To Threaten Apple And Samsung [Business Insider India, March 15, 2014]
The top Indian and Chinese smartphone manufacturers are classically disruptive. They produce products that are “good enough,” at a fraction of the cost of comparable models from premium brands. These ultra low-cost devices are the key to nudging consumers in massively untapped markets like India and Indonesia onto smartphones.
And these companies are starting to aim higher – producing 4G LTE smartphones that have the same processing power as Samsung and Apple premium devices.
They’re also far more innovative than they’re given credit for in terms of their strategy, supply chain management, and hardware.
In a new report from BI Intelligence, we explain why global consumer Internet and mobile companies will increasingly need to work with companies like Xiaomi and Micromax – not to mention Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, Coolpad, Karbonn, and others – if they don’t want to miss out on mobile’s next growth phase in emerging markets
- Major local manufacturers now account for two-fifths of China’s smartphone market, and one-fourth of India’s. Xiaomi already sells four of the top 10 best-selling Android devices in China, and operates one of the top five app stores.
- Combined, the top five manufacturers in China and the top two in India – the “Local 7” in the chart above – are now shipping about 65 million smartphones every quarter, more than Apple, and coming close to drawing even with Samsung.
- These local manufacturers wield influence in various ways. They run their own successful app stores, mobile operating systems, and mobile services. They also hold the keys to which apps are preloaded on their phones. When BlackBerry wanted to take its BBM messaging service for Android into India, it signed a deal with Micromax.
- The local manufacturers are not provincial outfits producing knock-offs, as some might be inclined to assume. But their main competitive tool, for now, remains price. Local manufacturers in China and India match the features of more expensive devices and manage to produce comparable hardware at a fraction of the price. A Micromax handset comparable to Apple’s iPhone 5C costs less than one-fourth as much.
- Xiaomi has used a four-point strategy in its three-year rise to produce four of the most popular phone models in China. We discuss all four aspects, including tight inventory management and crowdsourcing product development feedback.
- These manufacturers will continue to expand overseas, in search of new growth opportunities. Micromax is in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Xiaomi has its eyes on Malaysia and Brazil. Huawei is already in the U.S. For example, it sells a 4G LTE handset on MetroPCS.
Singapore and London, February 24, 2014 – Emerging markets have become the center of attention when talking about present and future smartphone growth. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in 2013 the worldwide smartphone market surpassed 1 billion units shipped, up from 752 million in 2012. This boom has been mainly powered by the China market, which has tripled in size over the last three years. China accounted for one out of every three smartphones shipped around the world in 2013, equaling 351 million units.
Recently the surge in growth has started to slow as smartphones already account for over 80% of China’s total phone sales. The next half billion new smartphone customers will increasingly come mainly from poorer emerging markets, notably India and in Africa.
“The China boom is now slowing,” said Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager for mobile devices at IDC Asia/Pacific. “China is becoming like more mature markets in North America and Western Europe, where smartphone sales growth is slackening off.”
Emerging markets in Asia/Pacific outside of China, together with the Middle East and Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America, account for four fifths of the global feature phone market, according to IDC data. “This is a very big market opportunity,” said Simon Baker, Program Manager for mobile phones at IDC CEMA. “Some 660 million feature phones were shipped last year, which could add two thirds to the size of the current global smartphone market.”
India will be key to future smartphone growth as it represents more than a quarter of the global feature phone market. “Growth in the India market doesn’t rely on high-end devices like the iPhone, but in low-cost Android phones. Nearly half of the smartphones shipped in India in 2013 cost less than US$120,” said Kiranjeet Kaur, Senior Market Analyst for mobile phones at IDC Asia/Pacific.
“Converting feature phone sales to smartphone sales implies a relentless push towards low cost,” added Baker. IDC research shows nearly half the mobile handsets sold across the world have retail prices of less than US$100 without sales tax. Two thirds of those have prices of less than US$50.
“The opportunity gets larger the lower the price falls,” continued Baker. “If you take retail prices without sales tax, in 2013 nearly three quarters of the US$100-125 price tier was already accounted for by smartphones. Within US$75-100 the proportion was down to just over half, and between $50-75 it was not much more than a third.”
Many smartphone vendors have begun gearing up for this next wave of cost pressure. Samsung is increasingly switching production to Vietnam, where manufacturing costs currently undercut mainland China. Even Hon Hai, one of the largest contract manufacturers for handsets in China, has announced plans for a plant in Indonesia to furnish a lower production cost base.
In addition to the table below, an interactive graphic showing worldwide sub-$100 feature phone shipments by region is available here. The chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic can be found by viewing this press release on IDC.com.
Worldwide Sub-$100 Feature Phone Shipments by Region, 2013
Shipments (M Units)
Middle East & Africa
Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan, China, and India)
Central & Eastern Europe
Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, February 24, 2014
Analysys International: Xiaomi Ranked Among Top Five in Q4, 2013 [March 11, 2014]
The statistics from EnfoDesk, the Survey of China Mobile Terminals Market in Q4, 2013, newly released by Analysys International, shows that the market share of Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei, Coolpad and Xiaomi ranked the top five of China smartphone in Q4, 2013. The market share of Samsung shrink slightly over the previous quarter, but it still accounted for 15.07 percent of smartphone market and maintain the leading position.
The release of Apple‘s new product has brought efficiency in Q4, and its market share slightly rebounded. Owning to the release of MI3 (Xiaomi), the market share of Xiaomi up 3.85 percentage points compared to the previous quarter. MI3 still should be bought from booking and the booking is relatively frequent. Meanwhile, the purchase restriction of MI2(Xiaomi) and Red MI(Xiaomi) has been relaxed, coupled with the strategic cooperation between Xiaomi and mobile operators, making it easier to buy custom models as well as contributing to the enlargement of Xiaomi’s market share. It can be expected that Xiaomi will put more energy into the complement of its retail capabilities and continue to increase their market share.
From: UMENG Insight Report – China Mobile Internet 2013 Overview [UMENG, March 12, 2014]
– The number of active smart devices in China exceeded 700 Million by the end of 2013.
– The five fastest growing mobile apps categories (excluding games) are : news, health & fitness, social networking, business, and navigation. These areas will bring new opportunities for developers in 2014.
– Socializing your apps is the key to success for developers. Currently among the top 1,000 apps (apps and games) in the Chinese market, 55% of them provide links to Chinese social networking services (e.g. Sina Weibo, Wechat, QQ, Renren) The amount of app content sharing to social network platforms per mobile Internet user per day has tripled in the last 6 months.
– Social network sharing in game has become incredibly popular on all social networking platforms, 48% of in app sharing traffic to social networks are from games.
– High-end devices (pricing above 500US$) have a significant market share in China, contributing 27% of total devices. These users have dynamic needs on mobile apps . The users of below 150US$ phones prefer casual games for their entertainment requirements.
– The year of 2013 became known as the first year Chinese developers took IP seriously with many developers licensing IP from rights holders. By the end of 2013, among the Top 100 games, 20% license 3rd party IP.
– Over the course of 2013 the percentage of iOS jailbroken devices in the Chinese Mainland fell by 17% to 13% of all devices. Domestic users are becoming more hesitant to jailbreak their devices.
700 Million active smart devices in China
- By the end of 2013, the number of active smart devices in China had exceeded 700,000,000, including smart phones and tablets.
- In the 4th quarter 59% of new devices were bought by smartphone users upgrading their existing hardware. The remaining new devices where bought by users buying their ﬁrst smartphone. As smartphone use becomes more commonplace in China new sales are increasingly driven by existing users upgrading, rather than from users purchasing their ﬁrst smartphone.
The market for budget Android phones is strong in China with 57% of devices under 330 USD price range. However over a quarter of users are using high-end smart phones costing over 500USD, 80% of these are iPhones.
Fragmented Android device market
- In the 4th quarter of 2013, Samsung and XiaoMi (a local brand) prove to be the most popular Android brands as between them they manufacture all of the top 10 active Android devices.
- However the Android market is still highly fragmented with hundreds of different handsets on the market. Samsung who manufacture many devices in all price ranges control 24% of the device market, while the domestic manufactures are battling it out with the international brands to extend their market share.
- In 2013, changes to device connectivity saw a large growth in WiFi connectivity, from 38% at the beginning of the year to 52% at year end. Mobile Internet infrastructure has become better in China. However Chinese users are still price sensitive to mobile data tariﬀ.
Active Device: active device refers to device which has activated at least one app covered by Umeng platform in the stipulated time frame. All the “devices” in the report refers to “active devices”, not the actual shipment.
- Data Source:
Analysis data in the report is based on over 210,000 Android and iOS apps from the Umeng platform. All data was collected from January to December 2013.
From: More than 247 million mobile handsets shipped in India during CY 2013, a Y-o-Y growth of 11.6%; over 70 million mobile handsets shipped in 4Q 2013 alone [CyberMedia Research press release, Feb 26, 2014]
According to CMR’s India Monthly Mobile Handsets Market Review, CY 2013, February 2014 release, India recorded 247.2 million mobile handset shipments for CY (January-December) 2013. During the same period, 41.1 million smartphones were shipped in the country.
India Smartphones Market
The India smartphones market during 2H 2013 saw a rise in shipments by 60.3% over 1H 2013, taking the overall contribution of smartphones to 16.6% for the full year. Further, 65.8% of the total smartphones shipped in the country were 3G smartphones during CY 2013.
Commenting on these results, Tarun Pathak, Lead Analyst, Devices, CMR Telecoms Practicesaid, “CY 2013 was primarily the year of smartphones for the India market, particularly for local handset vendors. A first for the India market was a marginal decline in featurephone shipments on a year-on-year basis. This trend is likely to continue with more vendors focusing on entry level smartphone offerings aimed at the consumer segment.”
“Nearly 70 vendors operated in the highly competitive India smartphones market in CY 2013, with ‘Tier One’ brands like Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Sony, HTC, LG and Blackberry capturing close to 53% of the total smartphones market, followed by India brands capturing close to 43% of total smartphone shipments. The remaining market of roughly 4% smartphone shipments was captured by China OEM brands, where we expect a few more players to enter the India market directly, instead of continuing as ODM partners to Indian brands”, Tarun added.
Rapid Growth In Smartphones Offset The Slump Witnessed In Feature Phone Sales In 4Q13, Says IDC [press release, Feb 26, 2014]
India was one of the fastest growing countries worldwide in terms of smartphone adoption in 2013. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) in 2013 the smartphone market surpassed 44 million units shipped, up from 16.2 million in 2012. This surge has been mainly powered by home grown vendors which have shown a tremendous and consistent growth over the past 4 quarters of 2013.
The overall phone market stood at close to 257 million units in CY 2013 – an 18% increase from 218 million units in CY2012.
CY2013 also witnessed a remarkable migration of the user base from feature phones to smartphones primarily due to the narrowing price gaps between these product categories.
The India smartphone market grew by 181% year over year (YoY) in the fourth quarter of 2013 (4Q13). According to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) APEJ Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 15.06 million smartphones in 4Q13 compared to 5.35 million units in the same period of 2012. 4Q13 grew by almost 18% Quarter-on-Quarter.
The shipment contribution of 5.0inch-6.99inch screen size smartphones (phablets) in 4Q2013 was noted to be around 20% in the overall market. The category grew by 6% in 4Q13 in terms of sheer volume over 3Q13.
The overall mobile phone market (Feature Phones and Smartphones) stood at 67.83 million units, a 16% growth YoY and a meager 2% growth quarter over quarter (QoQ).The share of feature phones slid further to make 78% of the total market in 4Q13, with the market showing a decline of 2% in 4Q13 over 3Q13.
The fourth quarter of 2013 witnessed a spike in the smartphone shipments by smaller homegrown vendors like LAVA, Intex which have shown tremendous growth in the past couple of quarters.
“The growth in the smartphone market is being propelled by the launch of low-end, cost competitive devices by international and local vendors which are further narrowing the price gaps that exist between feature phones and smartphones”, said Manasi Yadav, Senior Market Analyst with IDC India.
“The international vendors have understood the importance of creating a diverse portfolio of devices at varied price points and are striving to launch cost competitive devices that cater to every segment in the target audience ” comments Kiran Kumar, Research Manager with IDC India.
Top Five Smartphone Vendor Highlights
Samsung: Samsung maintained its leadership spot with about 38% in terms of market share. Its smartphone shipments grew by close to 37% from 3Q 2013 to 4Q2013. The fourth quarter saw quite a few new launches across price points by Samsung – however the low-end Galaxy portfolio in smartphones contribute to 50% in terms of shipment volumes
Micromax: Micromax held on to its second spot with about 16% in terms of market share in 4Q2013. Some of the top selling models were the entry level smartphones like A35 Bolt and A67. The Canvas range of devices has also done well in terms of volume contribution owing to the marketing campaigns launched around them.
Karbonn: The market share for Karbonn in 4Q2013 was close to 10%, some of the top selling models for this brand were A1+ and A51.
Sony: Sony managed to make a comeback in the top-5 smartphone vendor list in 4Q13 and garnered a market share of 5%. The top selling models included Xperia M Dual and Xperia C handsets, which are targeted at mid-tier price range.
Lava : Lava managed to hold onto the number 5 spot in the top-5 smartphone vendor list. The continued traction around the XOLO and IRIS range of devices helped the vendor garner a market share of 4.7% in 4Q13. Some of the top selling models include the newly launched XOLO A500 S and the existing models like IRIS 402 and IRIS 349.
IDC India Forecast:
IDC anticipates the growth in Smartphone segment to outpace the overall handset market growth for the foreseeable future. The end-user shift towards mid-to-high screen size products will be amplified by the declining prices and availability of feature-rich localized product offerings. Vendors who are able to differentiate their offerings at affordable prices will maintain a competitive edge and secure a strong position in the mobile phone market in CY 2014.
From: Gartner Says Annual Smartphone Sales Surpassed Sales of Feature Phones for the First Time in 2013 [press release, Feb 13, 2014]
Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2013 (Thousands of Units)
2013 Market Share (%)
2012 Market Share (%)
Source: Gartner (February 2014)
Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 4Q13 (Thousands of Units)
4Q13 Market Share (%)
4Q12 Market Share (%)
Source: Gartner (February 2014)
Top Smartphone Vendor Analysis
Samsung: While Samsung’s smartphone share was up in 2013 it slightly fell by 1.6 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2013. This was mainly due to a saturated high-end smartphone market in developed regions. It remains critical for Samsung to continue to build on its technology leadership at the high end. Samsung will also need to build a clearer value proposition around its midrange smartphones, defining simpler user interfaces, pushing the right features as well as seizing the opportunity of bringing innovations to stand out beyond price in this growing segment.
Apple: Strong sales of the iPhone 5s and continued strong demand for the 4s in emerging markets helped Apple see record sales of 50.2 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2013.
“However, Apple’s share in smartphone declined both in the fourth quarter of 2013 and in 2013, but growth in sales helped to raise share in the overall mobile phone market,” said Mr. Gupta. “With Apple adding NTT DOCOMO in Japan for the first time in September 2013 and signing a deal with China Mobile during the quarter, we are already seeing an increased growth in the Japanese market and we should see the impact of the last deal in the first quarter of 2014.”
Huawei: Huawei smartphone sales grew 85.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 to maintain the No. 3 spot year over year. Huawei has moved quickly to align its organization to focus on the global market. Huawei’s overseas expansion delivered strong results in the fourth quarter of 2013, with growth in the Middle East and Africa, Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Europe.
Lenovo: Lenovo saw smartphone sales in 2013 increase by 102.3 percent and by 63.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. Lenovo’s Motorola acquisition from Google will give Lenovo an opportunity to expand within the Americas.
“The acquisition will also provide Lenovo with patent protection and allow it to expand rapidly across the global market,” said Mr. Gupta. “We believe this deal is not just about entering into the U.S., but more about stepping out of China.”
Gartner expects smartphones to continue to drive overall sales in 2014 and an increasing number of manufacturers will realign their portfolios to focus on the low-cost smartphone sector. Sales of high-end smartphones will slow as increasing sales of low- and mid-price smartphones in high-growth emerging markets will shift the product mix to lower-end devices. This will lead to a decline in average selling price and a slowdown in revenue growth.
In the smartphone OS market, Android’s share grew 12 percentage points to reach 78.4 percent in 2013 (see below). The Android platform will continue to benefit from this, with sales of Android phones in 2014 approaching the billion mark.
Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 2013 (Thousands of Units)
2013 Market Share (%)
2012 Market Share (%)
Source: Gartner (February 2014)