Analysis: Who's Who in Smartphone Business in Q1 2011

It took a while, but we finally have the numbers for all four major analyst houses (Gartner, IDC, Canalys, and Strategy Analytics). As always, we calculated the average of their totals to find the quarterly total smartphone sales -- which came to 101.2 million, a 2% growth in smartphone sales from the fourth quarter (which included Christmas) of 2010. This is also the first time smartphone sales passed the magical 100 million unit mark.

By manufacturer: How long until Apple takes over?
Based on compiled information, here are the top 10 biggest smartphone brands by manufacturer in the first quarter of 2011.

Rank

Brand

Millions Sold

Market Share Q1 2011

Market Share Q4 2010

1 Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) 24.2 million 24% 29%
2 Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) 18.4 million 18% 16%
3 Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) 14.5 million 14% 14%
4 Samsung 12.6 million 13% 11%
5 HTC 9.7 million 10% 9%
6 Sony Ericsson 4.9 million 5% 5%
7 LG 4.7 million 5% 4$
8 Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) 4.1 million 4% 5%
9 ZTE 2.2 million 2% 2%
10 Sharp 1.8 million 2% 2%

The big movers are Nokia, which lost 5 massive market-share points in just one quarter, and Samsung and Apple, which both picked up points. HTC, LG, and ZTE are also growing, with Motorola slipping back further into the pack. RIM, Sony Ericsson, and Sharp are roughly holding their ground.

By operating system: Android is the new king
I also did some forced math to try to squeeze as close as possible the reported operating-system numbers to the total numbers above. As usual, this is the more difficult bit, but these numbers should be close. Remember, this is for smartphones only, not tablet PCs or other devices (iOS on iPod touch, Android-powered cars, etc.). The market share by operating system as I see it for first quarter of 2011 are as follows.

Rank

Maker

Operating System

Market Share Q1 2011

Market Share Q4 2010

1 Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android 35% 30%
2 Nokia Symbian 25% 32%
3 Apple iOS 18% 16%
4 Research In Motion BlackBerry 14% 14%
5 Samsung bada 3% 3%
6 Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Windows Mobile 2% 2%
7 Microsoft Windows Phone 7 2% 2%
8 Others   1% 1%

First, remember that Symbian also still has Japanese makers that support it in addition to Nokia (that's why the percentage here is bigger than in the previous table). An interesting race among the small operating systems is hidden in the percentages as well. Several sources say Samsung's bada sold 3.5 million (thus almost 4% when rounding off), compared with about 2 million for Windows Mobile 6.5 and 1.6 million for the new Phone 7. So even in the first quarter of 2011, Microsoft's newest operating system is being beaten even by its older sibling, and Samsung's new OS outsells all Microsoft Windows Phone 7 partners combined, by more than 2-to-1.

A number we should look out for is that Samsung has not given a split for bada vs. Android vs. Microsoft handsets. But if the numbers are roughly right, we should have been at about 8.8 million cumulative bada shipments by end of Q1, and during the second quarter of 2011, we should pass 10 million cumulative bada devices. Expect some noise soon from the Samsung PR team.

February's projection for a Nokia market-share crash in 2011
On the Nokia watch: How is my model compared with reality? When I did my "Nokia premium smartphone customer giveaway sweepstakes" analysis, I projected the following numbers, which we can now compare with actual figures.

Quarter

Market Share

Unit Sales

Average Selling Price

Total Revenues of Smartphones

Q1 2011 28% 29 million 146 euros 4.3 billion euros
Q2 2011 21% 25 million 136 euros 3.3 billion euros
Q3 2011 16% 21 million 126 euros 2.6 billion euros
Q4 2011 12% 17 million 116 euros 2.0 billion euros

I said in my analysis that I was offering my "best case" scenario, as there was plenty of Nokia doom and gloom at the time, following Stephen Elop's stunning Microsoft announcement on Feb. 11. But there were several competent analysts who came to me and said they felt I was being too harsh on Nokia -- that although things would be bad, they wouldn't be quite that bad. Well, now we have the first evaluation of those numbers. And it's not that bad -- it's worse.

Metric

Market Share

Unit Sales

Average Selling Price

Total Revenue

My projection 28% 29 million 146 euros 4.3 billion euros
Nokia actual 24% 24 million 147 euros 3.6 billion euros

So Nokia is already 4 market-share points and 5 million unit sales below what I projected. The average sales-price drop is almost spot-on as I predicted, with total smartphone revenues $700 million below what I projected for the quarter. If you thought Nokia's 2011 was going to be an annus horribilis based on Ahonen's doom-and-gloom analysis, it's clearly going to be far worse.

You're free to comment below with your own guesses of how much worse the second quarter will be than my original projection in the above.

Android split
With lots of interest in how the Android world is doing, I am continuing with my best guess of how the Android manufacturer internal market shares are going. I find for Q1 that the Android family splits its 36 million handsets sold like this.

Company

Share

HTC 26%
Samsung 24%
Sony Ericsson 13%
LG 13%
Motorola 11%
Others 12%

I'll come back later with some gossip and news about the various brands and how they are doing in Year 2 of the smartphone bloodbath. But I wanted to post these market-share numbers, as I know many of our readers have been waiting for them.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2011, at 8:49 PM, hrl66 wrote:

    I agree and a trip to my Apple store only helps to prove your point.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2011, at 7:34 AM, sapiska wrote:

    Android is a not anymore a free OS. HTC is already paying $5 for a phone to MS and other may have to pay $7.5-12.5 for every phone (already) sold for the patents. Android market share may crash due this and possible copyright/patent case from Oracle may ruin the economy of Android manufacturers which are already in losses.

    Nokia is the top-seller in the every category except OS market share. Is the market cap $31 billion ($22 billion excluding cash) fair for this company, because it contains 50% of the Nokia Siemens Networks company and 100% of the Navteq digital maps company? There is already priced a huge crash in protitability and market share to Nokia's market cap.

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