Market Numbers in the Mobile Industry

October 28, 2011 — 3 Comments

The other day at Web Not War DevCamp I did a TED Style talk on “State of Mobile imageIndustry for Developers” and talked about some of the market share numbers and what tools are available for users not just on Windows Phone but on all platforms. These numbers are also for smartphones and feature phones (or non-smartphones) combined.

Now I’m just going to talk about the numbers, as I think they are pretty interesting.  But numbers are what they are and numbers can be skewed in any way. Bad numbers can be ‘tweaked’ to look good, and good numbers can be skewed to look bad.  Although the only time you would want to do that is when you are comparing yourself against your competition and they have good numbers Winking smile

All the numbers I got from the latest comScore Mobilens report for August 2011 released in October 2011.  Note, that these numbers are only for US and are not reflect worldwide market share.  These reports are free and I recommend you keep an eye out for them when they come out if you are in the mobile space.

The Hardware Numbers

So up first up is Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM for short) market share numbers.  What is an OEM? An OEM is a company that produces or manufactures physical phone hardware.

So who is the leader of end of August 2011

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And here are the numbersimage

As you can see from the list above, Samsung is up on top and gained 0.5% share of the market in three months, with LG and Motorola rounding out the top three.  If you are surprised that Apple is #4 remember that this is hardware not the Platform/Operating System (we get into that below) but Apple did gain 1.1% points in the three months while Motorola lost 1.1% in share.  RIM also lost 1.0% and unfortunately1 I only expect them to lose more as these numbers are before their October 2011 email outage and the recent class action law suit against RIM because of the issues.

What am I expecting? Apple will go up next month because of the launch of the iPhone 4s but the rankings will essentially stay the same.  I don’t expect Samsung to lose the top spot for a very long time.  Very few people know that they actually manufacture some hardware for some of the companies on the list, so even if the go down, they still generate revenue.

The Software Numbers

In my opinion, hardware is just a paperweight without the right software on it, and that is what this next list of companies are on the list for, their software.  Now don’t get me wrong, you still need some nice sexy hardware to appeal to the consumer, but the hardware won’t do anything without software Smile

So who is on top here?

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And here are the numbers showing the top 5.

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Google is on top with 43.7% market share and they are just killing the competition and I think there are a couple of reasons. First, it’s ‘somewhat’ open source so companies are allowed to take the software modify it, customize it and change the experience to something unique for their device. In my opinion, this could lead to fragmentation of the software and challenging to provide an update path for end users. Now carriers love this because to get the latest and greatest features you have to buy a new phone. Google has noticed this and is taking steps to contain this but it’s already happening.  Carriers also love Android because there is less of a ‘fee’ associated with it to sell the device in retail stores which means more profit for them.

So what about the rest?  Well it’s not surprising that Apple is in the number two spot in the US and gained 0.7% share at 27.3%.  RIM rounds out the top three but they lost a huge 5% down to 19.7%.  Probably to everyone’s surprise in the number 4 spot is Microsoft’s Windows Phone at 5.7% down 0.1%.  Rounding out the top 5 is Symbian at 1.8% down 0.3%

What am I expecting here?  I think Google will gain 1 or 2 points and continue their market domination for the next little while.  Unfortunately, patent infringement troubles with Oracle dealing with Java and Android will cause some issues and depending on the turnout, could possibly stop Android devices from being sold.  There is also all the licensing deals Microsoft is making with hardware manufacturers like HTC that leverage Android which may affect future growth.  I expect Apple will also go up a few points as well as Microsoft.  RIM and Symbian, I expect them to continue their downward spiral in the next report but the rankings overall should stay the same.

Conclusion

Remember, numbers are numbers but if you are building mobile apps you should pay attention to them and see which way the consumers are going and if you should abandon or start adopting certain platforms.  Also remember that these numbers are only US but I think including the rest of the world would produce different results.

Do you keep up with the numbers?  Agree or disagree with what I’m saying? Let me know! Feel free to contact me here or via twitter @MarkArteaga!

1I say unfortunate because RIM is a great Canadian success story and sad to see them go down they way they are.

3 responses to Market Numbers in the Mobile Industry

  1. Why is HTC missing in the manufacturers list?
    If their numbers are missing from the OS part, too, these might be heavily skewed, not?

  2. Not sure, does HTC make feature phones? This is a combination of smart and non-smartphones. Whether or not comScore skewes their numbers, don’t know, but i would bet to say they don’t.

  3. You raelly found a way to make this whole process easier.

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